Many people know about gingivitis, and how flossing and brushing adequately can help to reverse the condition. However, some might not know that gingivitis isn't the only form of gum disease, and that later stages can't be reversed so easily. Here's what you should know about periodontitis and why it can't be reversed at home.
Tartar is one of the leading reasons why it's not so easy to make advanced gum disease go away. Tartar is the hardened form of plaque, of course, but it's impossible to remove from your teeth with the tools you have available to you. All the flossing and brushing in the world won't make tartar budge — it's too hard and sticky.
Unfortunately, tartar doesn't just cause cavities. It also causes and worsens gums disease. This sticky stuff can effectively seal off your gums, allowing bacteria to do all kinds of terrible things while being protected from your toothbrush and floss.
Another reason why you can't reverse periodontitis at home is because with this level of gum disease, you have an active infection in your gums. Bacteria is infectious, after all, and with periodontitis the infection has become more severe. The immune system is no longer able to fight off the onslaught of bacteria all on its own and needs help from the outside.
The good news is that periodontitis can be reversed, just with the help of a dentist. Your dentist will be able to reverse this condition by performing these steps.
The first is to perform a deep cleaning of your teeth and gums. Stripping away tartar and blasting away as much bacteria as possible gives your gums a chance to start recovering from the chronic inflammation that tartar and bacteria can cause.
The second is to clean out your gum pockets. Gums tend to open up and widen when they're infected, which can allow nasty bacteria to get under the gums and start damaging the teeth. By cleaning out the pocket, the gums can start to heal and the bacteria will no longer be threatening your teeth, either.
Lastly, they may prescribe antibiotics to you. This is to give your immune system the extra boost it needs to beat any bacteria that have already made it inside your gums and even to the bloodstream.
With these tools, your dentist can make your gum disease a distant memory. Don't hesitate: if you think you have gum disease and aren't seeing an improvement in your symptoms, get help ASAP.