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Gum disease is essentially an infection and inflammation of the gum tissues, caused by the bacterial presence prevalent in hardened tartar. While brushing your teeth with a soft bristled tooth brush and abrasive toothpaste will help to clean away residual food particles and plaque the surfaces of teeth, it is ineffective at cleaning between teeth and the gum line.

The American Dental Association recommends flossing as the most effective way to remove residual food particles and plaque from between the gum line. If these areas are not cleaned, and tartar builds up, it can easily cause the earliest stages of gum disease.

The most effective flossing technique starts by wrapping excess floss around your middle fingers. Then firmly grip a small section of floss between your thumb and index fingers. Work the floss around your teeth in a U shape and gently clear the space between the teeth and your gum line. Make sure you also floss behind your back teeth.

The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. Common symptoms include red or otherwise inflamed gums that often bleed easily when brushing and flossing. This might also be associated with chronic bad breath.

Left unchecked gingivitis will develop into the more dangerous form of gum disease known as periodontitis. When this happens the infection deep in the gum tissues, starts to cause your gums to slowly recede from the base of your teeth. This allows small pockets of infection to form near the roots of your teeth. In time periodontitis can even result in a loss of bone structure in the part of your jaw that anchors your teeth.

Your regular dental checkup with Dr. Watkins includes a thorough dental cleaning which removes hardened tartar before it can become a serious problem.

If you are concerned about gum disease or your flossing technique, please call Dr. Watkins in San Antonio, TX, at 210-526-0925 to schedule an appointment.

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