Periodontal disease could have negative effects on your physical and oral health, which is why our dentists in Parksville are sharing ways you can help prevent it.
What is periodontitis (gum disease)?
Periodontitis is also known as gum disease which is a progressive condition that steadily invades your gums. Since it's usually painless in the beginning stages (gingivitis), it could easily evolve to the advanced stages without you noticing any symptoms.
Plaque builds up on your teeth and along the gum line, it then hardens into a rough, porous deposit called tartar or calculus. Pockets develop between the teeth and irritated gums, and bacteria collect here, this could lead to other health issues such as cardiovascular disease. When the plaque has hardened, only your dentist will have the tools to remove it.
In its advanced stages, periodontitis is able to cause loss of bone structure and deterioration of gums - eventually even tooth loss.
This makes removing plaque with a rigorous daily hygiene routine of brushing and flossing as well as attending regular dental hygiene appointments so important for prevention – and for maintaining your oral health.
How can I prevent periodontitis?
There are also several less obvious tips that might help you avoid gum disease or reduce your risk of getting it. You might want to:
Take inventory of your medications. Certain medications can contribute to and aggravate gum disease, including antidepressants, heart medicines, and oral contraceptives.
Increase your consumption of vitamins A and C, which are part of a healthy diet that could help prevent periodontitis. Conversely, cut sugary and starchy foods, which allow plaque to build.
Have dental issues treated quickly. Fix dental problems or oral health issues such as teeth grinding, misaligned or crowded teeth. It can be more challenging to properly clean teeth that aren’t properly spaced, thus providing room for plaque to grow and thrive.
Gently massage your gums. Along with brushing and flossing regularly (at least twice a day for two minutes each time for brushing, and once daily for thorough flossing), give your gums extra attention by gently massaging them, which can increase blood flow to the tissue.
Use fluoride toothpaste. This key ingredient helps remove the buildup of plaque bacteria along the gum line without irritating 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 have been 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 find 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.