Periodontal disease can negatively affect your oral and overall physical health. In this blog, our Orangeville dentists explain what periodontitis is and how you can prevent it.
Gum Disease (Periodontitis)
Periodontitis (gum disease) is a progressive condition that gradually invades your gums. Because it is typically painless in its early stages (gingivitis), it can easily evolve to an advanced stage before you become aware of any problems.
Plaque collects on your teeth and along the gum line, then hardens into a rough, porous deposit referred to as tartar or calculus. Pockets form between the teeth and irritated gums, where bacteria collect, which can result in other health problems such as cardiovascular disease. Once plaque hardens, only your dentist will have the tools to remove it.
In its advanced stages, periodontitis can cause loss of bone structure, gum deterioration, and eventually tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is one of the most common causes of tooth loss in adults.
That’s why removing plaque with a rigorous daily hygiene routine of brushing and flossing as well as attending regular hygiene appointments with your dentist is essential for prevention and maintaining oral health
Ways To Help Prevent Periodontitis
There are also some less obvious tips that may help you avoid gum disease or reduce your risk of getting it, such as:
Take inventory of your medications. Certain medications can contribute to and aggravate gum disease, including antidepressants, heart medicines, and oral contraceptives.
Consume more vitamins A and C, which are part of a healthy diet that can help prevent periodontitis. Conversely, cut sugary and starchy foods, which allow plaque to build.
Get dental conditions treated quickly. Correct dental problems or oral health issues such as teeth grinding, misaligned teeth, or crowded teeth. It can be more challenging to clean teeth that aren’t properly spaced, thus providing room for plaque to grow and thrive.
Massage your gums gently. Along with brushing and flossing regularly (at least twice a day for two minutes each time for brushing, and once daily for thorough flossing), show your gums some love by gently massaging them, which increases blood flow to the tissue.
Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste. This key ingredient helps remove plaque bacteria that has built up along the gum line without irritating the gums.
Quit smoking. Smoking is not only strongly associated with the onset of gum disease, it makes it more difficult for your gums to heal once they’re damaged, as smoking weakens the immune system.
Know your risks. Whether genetics, diet, age, smoking, or other factors make you more susceptible to periodontitis, knowledge is power when it comes to reducing your risk and staying healthy.
Bonus: Ask your dentist about periodontal disease treatment. The earlier your dentist can detect periodontitis (if you do get it), the better. That's because it's easier to treat gum disease in its earlier stages, than when it has advanced to the point that you start to lose teeth or jaw bone tissue. Depending on how far the disease has progressed and its severity, there are surgical and non-surgical options for treatment.
Regular oral hygiene - and reducing your personal risk factors - will go a long way in the fight to prevent gum disease. Our gums are as important as our teeth when it comes to our oral health, so it’s important not to neglect them.