Our oral health is closely linked to our overall physical health, and periodontal disease can have negative impacts on both. In this post, our dentists in Moose Jaw explain what periodontitis is and provide helpful tips for preventing it.
What is periodontitis (gum disease)?
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.
To maintain optimal oral health, it is crucial to effectively remove plaque buildup from your teeth and gums. If left untreated, plaque can harden into tartar or calculus, which can contribute to more serious health issues like cardiovascular disease.
The presence of bacteria in the spaces between your teeth and gums can lead to irritation and inflammation. As periodontitis progresses, it can cause loss of bone structure and deterioration of the gums, ultimately resulting in tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is a common cause of tooth loss among adults.
Regular visits to your dentist are essential for removing hardened plaque using specialized tools. Additionally, maintaining a consistent daily oral hygiene routine that includes thorough brushing and flossing, along with scheduling regular dental hygiene appointments, is crucial for preventing gum disease and preserving your oral health.
How can I prevent periodontitis?
Some lesser-known tips can help you avoid gum disease or lower your risk of getting it. Consider the following:
It is important to consider your medications, as certain ones like antidepressants, heart medicines, and oral contraceptives can potentially worsen gum disease.
To help prevent gum disease, incorporate foods that are rich in vitamins A and C into your diet. Also, try to reduce your intake of sugary and starchy foods, as they can promote plaque buildup.
If you have dental issues such as teeth grinding, misaligned teeth, or crowded teeth, it is advisable to have them treated promptly. Properly cleaning teeth can be more challenging when they are not properly spaced, which allows plaque to grow.
In addition to regular brushing and flossing, gently massaging your gums can improve blood flow to the tissue, contributing to better gum health. You can also:
- Use fluoride toothpaste. It removes plaque bacteria along the gum line without irritating the gums.
- Quit smoking. Smoking not only increases the risk of gum disease but also hampers gum healing as it weakens the immune system.
- Know your risks. Knowing if factors like genetics, diet, age, or smoking make you more prone to gum disease empowers you to reduce your risk and maintain good oral health.
- Bonus: Ask your dentist about periodontal disease treatment. Consult your dentist about periodontal disease treatment. Early detection of gum disease allows for easier treatment before tooth loss or jaw bone damage occurs. Treatment options vary depending on the disease's stage and severity, ranging from surgical to non-surgical approaches.
- 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.