How to Prevent and Avoid Periodontal Disease
It is not uncommon for patients to receive a diagnosis of periodontal disease when they go in for their routine dental checkup. While periodontal disease is a serious matter, it is treatable, and there are steps you can take to keep it at bay.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a broad term for a number of afflictions of the mouth relating to gum disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis. Plaque builds up on our teeth due to bacteria and food particles; an excessive buildup of plaque leads to inflammation of the gums resulting in various forms of gum disease.
What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?
Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease resulting in inflamed, swollen gums. If left untreated for a long period, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, a more serious form of periodontal disease. Periodontitis causes the inflamed gums to recede from the teeth creating spaces that allow an infection to spread to deeper parts of the teeth and gums. This leads to deterioration of the bones and tissue that support teeth. If these tissues are destroyed, teeth might require removal to prevent further spread.
What should I monitor for?
- Some of the symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Recurring bad breath.
- Red and swollen gums.
- Sensitive gums or teeth.
- Bleeding gums when you brush.
- Pain when chewing.
- Receding gums or teeth looking longer than normal.
If you experience any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Proper dental hygiene is your best defense against periodontal disease. We recommend brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day. The best toothpaste to use for preventing periodontal disease is one that contains fluoride. You can also use mouthwash as part of your oral hygiene regimen. Look for one that is formulated for gum disease and stamped with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal. You can find these at your local drug or grocery store or order them online.
Certain behaviors contribute to periodontal disease, such as smoking and are best avoided.
How can I treat periodontal disease if I already have it?
If you already have a form of periodontal disease, your dentist will perform an examination of your mouth to assess the level of inflammation and infection. Follow the prescribed oral hygiene they recommend and visit your dentist or oral hygienist for regular professional cleanings. If your periodontal disease is in an advanced stage, your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection in addition to a deep cleaning. They may also refer you to a periodontist, a specialist in periodontal and gum health if your periodontal disease requires more serious measures like flap surgery or bone grafts.
New advancements for treating periodontal disease
Researchers continue to make strides in finding new ways to help treat periodontal disease more effectively. New discoveries are coming to light that help dentists and periodontists treat periodontal disease more quickly and more effectively.
But while new techniques and methods are helping revolutionize the field, proper routine dental hygiene is still the best preventative for periodontal disease. Call 210.877.2273 to schedule a cleaning appointment and oral health assessment, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.