Understanding Your Gums
You know about cavities, and tooth decay, and how important it is to brush and keep your teeth healthy. But how much do you know about the health of your gums? The gums are an important part of your mouth, and if they’re not in good shape, your whole mouth can suffer. What do you need to know about your gums?
You might have noticed that your oral hygienist or dentist probes your gums during your regular check-ups. This is to determine if your gums are fitting snugly against your teeth. Unhealthy gums have pockets of space, and the deeper the pocket, the worse your gum health. It may feel like your gums are just being poked, but what the dentist is actually doing is measuring them. The tool used to probe gums is called a periodontal probe, and it’s essentially a tiny ruler. It is inserted into pockets in your gums, and the depth is recorded in millimeters.
Your dentist will keep track of these numbers as a preventive measure against periodontal disease (gum disease). Only your dentist can diagnose gum disease, but in general, 1 to 3 mm means the gums are generally healthy, 4 mm means you need to pay more attention to your oral care, 5 to 6 mm indicates gum disease, and anything over 6 means advanced gym disease. By regularly checking gum pocket depth, your dental team can catch periodontal disease early, when it’s still relatively easy to treat.
You can look for signs of gum disease at home, too. Swollen, sore, or bleeding gums could be a sign of gingivitis or periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, and it happens when plaque builds up at the gumline. Once it progresses to periodontitis, it can affect the bone and tissue supporting your teeth. However, these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions and even vitamin deficiencies. Hormonal changes like pregnancy, illnesses like diabetes, infections, and vitamin C deficiency can all be responsible for gum problems, so you will want to see your dentist to get the right diagnosis.
What can you do to keep your gums healthy? First, pay attention to your oral care routine. Brush twice a day and floss once a day, brushing gently so that you don’t injure your gums. Consider using a water flosser, to clean below the gumline. Eat a nutritious diet, don’t use tobacco products, drink alcohol only in moderation, and take supplements, especially if you think you are not getting enough vitamin C. See your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings, but in between visits, pay attention to your gums so that you can make a dental appointment if you notice signs of gum disease.
At Park 56 Dental Group, we offer pediatric, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, Invisalign®, emergency, and sedation dentistry, all at the highest level of treatment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322
Why Your Gums Itch
You know that feeling when your gums start to itch? The sensation can be annoying, and it might even make you a little self-conscious. But did you know that gum itchiness is actually a sign of something else going on in your mouth? There are a few different things that can cause your gums to itch. Read on to learn more about common causes of itchy gums and what you can do about it!
What Causes Gums to Itch and What Are Symptoms?
The most common cause of itchy gums is plaque build-up. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth and gums. When plaque isn’t removed, it can harden into tartar. Tartar can irritate your gums and cause them to itch. Other causes of itchy gums include:
- Gum disease – Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue. It can cause swelling, redness, and bleeding of the gums.
- Allergies – Allergies to food, medication, or other substances can cause itching and swelling of the gums.
- Dry mouth – Dry mouth can occur due to certain medications, medical conditions, or treatments. It can cause the gums to become irritated and itch.
Symptoms of itchy gums include:
Are Itchy Gums a Warning Sign for a More Serious Issue?
Itchy gums are usually not a sign of a more serious condition. However, in rare cases, they may be a sign of gum disease or another oral health problem. If you have any concerns, see your dentist or oral healthcare provider.
What Are My Options for Treatment and Relief?
The best way to treat itchy gums is to remove the plaque and tartar with professional dental cleanings. Your dentist or oral healthcare provider can also recommend other treatments, such as:
- Fluoride mouth rinse – This can help prevent plaque build-up.
- Soft toothbrush – A soft-bristled toothbrush can be less irritating to your gums.
- Medications – If your itchy gums are caused by an allergy, your doctor may prescribe medication.
When Should I See a Doctor for My Itching Gums?
You should see a dentist or oral healthcare provider if your itchy gums are severe or don’t improve with home treatment. You should also see a healthcare provider if you have any other symptoms, such as:
- swelling of the face or lips
- difficulty breathing
How Can I Prevent Itchy Gums?
You can help prevent itchy gums by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using a fluoride mouth rinse. You should also see your dentist regularly for professional dental cleanings and check-ups.
How Can Park 56 Dental in NYC Help Me Treat My Itchy Gums?
If you have itchy gums, the team at Park 56 Dental in New York can help. We offer professional dental cleanings and a variety of other treatments to help relieve your symptoms. We also offer preventative care services to help you avoid itchy gums in the future. To learn more, contact us today or schedule an appointment online.
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