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Dental Hygiene

Very concerned with teeth

11/18/2003

Question:

Hi, I`m a 19 year old american who recently moved to South Korea (about 4 weeks now) and I noticed lately that my new diet composing of mainly rice was getting stuck in my teeth some. So I took out some dental flossed I had packed away and flossed my teeth. I don`t floss often so I expected a little bleeding from my gums and there was some bleeding in places I was used to, little from my bottom teeth (center) and some from in between my top right big tooth and it`s slightly smaller friend next to it. I`m not sure if I flossed improperly but, I slid the floss up one side of the tooth back down and then up the other side of the gumline, trying to reach for stuck food or plaque. Then in the past 2 days I`ve noticed that area acting strangely. It`s almost like a loose feeling in that area. But after applying slight pressure around the teeth and others I noticed no looseness. However, in another hard to describe action, if I pull my top lip over my top teeth and push out with my bottom lip I notice something that feels like a movement but I don`t think my teeth are moving. I have been brushing since but I haven`t flossed since. Things to mention: I have seen a dentist regularly (I think less than 2 or 3 months ago), I brush usually twice a day (Sonicare Ultrasonic usally), I don`t floss regularly, I`ve never had gum or teeth problems to speak of although I`ve had perhaps 2 cavities in my back teeth which were filled. I thought maybe it was vitamin deficiency so I`ve bought daily vitamins to take but I wanted to go ahead and ask. Lastly, I wear a retainer every night (I had braces and they are to keep my teeth from shifting back into their original position or so I was told). I`ve become very concerned in this last day or two especially since after doing a little research I see it could be Periodontal Disease. But I hate to jump to conclusions when there is not really any visible difference in my gums or teeth.

Sorry for the long winded question but because of the strange symptoms I thought I should elaborate. Please advise on what my best course of action should be and whether I should continue flossing and wearing the retainers. I`d love it if it was just a piece of rice or meat stuck up in my gum but I hate to go digging in my gums before asking someone who knows what they`re doing.

Thanks in advance. Urgently concerned

Answer:

I would continue to floss and wear your retainer. Any bleeding should subside in 7-14 days. When gums are inflamed they may give the feeling of looseness. It sounds like you are flossing properly. Hopefully it is just something stuck in your gum. Keep trying to get it out with the floss. Again, if the area does not resolve in 2 weeks I would see a dentist.

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Response by:

Michele P Carr, RDH,  MA Michele P Carr, RDH, MA
Associate Professor of Dental Hygiene
Associate Professor of HS Nursing Quality & Research
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University