Many people think that tooth decay only occurs at the outer part of the teeth. However, cavities can also form near the gum line. About a third of all individuals with tooth decay have cavities in this part of their teeth. Dentists call this condition root decay. And it is more common than having arthritis and hypertension. Using the right gum toothpaste can help prevent root decay. Getting the right knowledge about the condition also helps.
How Gumline Cavities Develop
Root cavities start with the formation of a sticky film that bacteria produce on the surface of the teeth. We call this thin film plaque. The sticky film contains acids that bacteria produce. These acids can eat away at the outer surface of the tooth. With continuous exposure to these acids, the enamel of the tooth loses its structural integrity. This leads to the development of a pit. From this pit, a cavity forms.
Plaque has the tendency to accumulate in certain areas of the human teeth. In most instances, plaque accumulates in the fissures and pits of the molars or back teeth. The spaces in between teeth are also very common areas where plaque can develop. Another area where plaque can form is along the gumline.
Risk of Having Plaques at Gumline
One of the main problems of having plaque at the gumline is recession of the gum tissue. When the tissues of the gum start to recede, it exposes the surface of the root of the tooth. This part of the human tooth does not have enamel that can protect it against acids and other substances. Instead, it contains a different layer called cementum.
Because cementum is not as strong as enamel, root cavities can worsen at a much faster rate. The cavity can extend well into the tip of the root, creating a passageway for bacteria to enter. This can lead to inflammation of the gums and the weakening of the root’s attachment. Sooner or later, one can lose a tooth if this is not addressed immediately.
Treating Tooth Decay at the Gumline
If there are cavities in the teeth, dentists will often fill it with an appropriate substance. The dentist will first inject an anesthetic agent into the gums to help numb the nerves. He will then remove the decaying matter using a drill. Some dentists will use a laser device because it causes less pain than a drill.
The drilled tooth gets cleaned to make sure that no microorganisms remain. Any debris from the decayed material left in the cavity can interact with the dental filling. This can weaken its hold on the sides of the cavity. The dentist then fills the space with a dental amalgam. There are dentists who use composite resin instead.
Filling a tooth cavity along the gumline can be challenging. If the tooth decay extends beneath the gumline, the dentist will have to perform a minor surgery. This is because the location of the cavity will not permit the use of laser or drill.
Preventing Gumline Cavities
Since gumline cavities start with the accumulation of dental plaque, one should focus more on preventing such an accumulation to occur. One can do this by brushing his or her teeth with an appropriate gum toothpaste at least twice a day. For best results, one can brush his or her teeth after every eating activity. If the situation does not allow for toothbrushing, then gargling with a mouthwash can help kill the bacteria that produce plaque.
Flossing can also help prevent the formation of plaque. One should floss his or her teeth at least once a day. This is an activity that can complement good brushing habits. When flossing, it is best to use a gentler rubbing motion to avoid bruising or cutting the gum tissue.
Regular trips to the dentist can also help prevent gumline cavities. Dental hygienists can remove plaque and tartar in a more efficient manner. Dentists can also check if you already have receding gums. This way, you can prevent it from getting worse.
Using an appropriate gum toothpaste in your regular oral hygiene routine can help prevent tooth decay at the gumline. Meticulous flossing and regular dental checkups are also important.