How to Prevent Periodontal Disease

woman brushing teeth

Do you have periodontal disease? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 47 percent of adults have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can creep up on you and it has devastating effects. Poor dental hygiene gives it an environment to thrive and it will progress to eventual tooth loss, if undetected. Can you stop it in its tracks or prevent it from ever becoming a problem? Here are some dental information about periodontal disease and what you can do to prevent it.

The Beginning of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease doesn’t appear overnight. It starts slow, almost imperceptibly with poor oral hygiene. Bacteria in the mouth interact with mucus and food particles to form a clear sticky layer on the teeth called plaque. Colorless, plaque may escape attention. Left to fester, it will harden and become tartar. While daily cleaning can keep plaque in check, tartar buildup needs professional cleaning to get rid of it.

Progresses to Gingivitis

Unattended plaque and tartar continue their destruction. The bacteria found in plaque and tartar cause the gum to become inflamed. The gum becomes swollen, red and it may bleed. This is a mild form of periodontal disease, also known as gingivitis, and you can still savage the situation through diligent oral hygiene.

Periodontal Disease Sets In

If gingivitis is not caught and treated, it will process to periodontitis. At this stage, gum inflammation will worsen to the point where the gum pulls away from the teeth. This causes pockets to form around the teeth, giving the bacteria more room and surface area to work its damage, producing bacterial toxins. When that happens, the body’s natural response to combat the bacterial toxins will cause the bone and connective tissue that hold the tooth to break down. The tooth becomes loose and eventual loss may take place.

Do You Have Periodontal Disease?

Catching periodontal disease early can help you to take control of your oral health. Although periodontal disease often progress quietly, there are still some signs you can look out for:

  • Red, swollen, and tender gums
  • Gums that bleed during and after tooth-brushing
  • Receding gums
  • Pockets around teeth or a separation of gums away from teeth
  • Bad breath or persistent bad odor in the mouth
  • Loose or shifting teeth

If you detect one or more of these signs, it’s time to schedule a dentist’s visit to see if you’ve periodontal disease.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

The often repeated adage becomes excellent advice when it comes to oral health. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, you can prevent periodontal disease with these oral habits:

  • Brush your teeth at least once in the morning and before you go to sleep. Brushing removes debris and food particles trapped between teeth and prevent plaque buildup.
  • Brushing teeth is well and good, but brushing the tongue is equally important. Bacteria hide in the crevices and elevations found on the tongue and will multiply with inattention. Brush your tongue from back to front and side to side using the toothbrush or use a tongue scraper.
  • Flossing (at least once a day) helps to remove food particles and plaque in hard to reach areas.
  • Use antibacterial mouthwash daily to kill bacteria and remove plaque.
  • Make lifestyle changes to prevent periodontal disease. Smoking and eating foods with too much sugar can escalate periodontal disease. Instead, quit smoking and eat healthy and nutritious foods that promote good oral health.

Schedule regular dental cleaning and checkup. Only professional cleaning can remove tartar buildup. To make sure you don’t have periodontal disease, get an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation (CPE). This thorough examination will look at your teeth, plaque level, gums, bite, bone structure and your genetic background to identify signs of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease doesn’t just cause eventual tooth loss (and a lovely smile to boot), it may be linked to other health issues such as diabetes and heart diseases. If you need more information about periodontal disease, contact us.

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