How to Prevent Periodontal Disease

By the time a person reaches adulthood their mouth and their gums, or gingivae have undergone quite a workout. When your gums are healthy, they will continue to fit snugly around your set of teeth. However, many adults have developed or experienced some type of gum, or periodontal disease – an infection in the tissues that support your teeth.

Many researchers suggest that there is a link between gum diseases and other health concerns such as bacterial pneumonia, stroke, and cardiovascular problems, in addition to increased risk throughout pregnancy. Additional studies are required to determine if inflammatory response and bacteria associated with gum diseases do in fact play a role in the development of systemic problems.

Causes

Gum diseases are caused by the sticky film of bacteria that constantly form on the teeth, known as plaque. If plaque is not removed from daily cleaning and brushing, gums may become inflamed and irritated. Inflamed gums can start to separate from the teeth forming pockets. Bacteria will then move into these spaces where they will continue to promote irritation and further inflammation. If this is left untreated, the process will continue until other tooth-supporting tissues and the bone is completely destroyed.

The early stage of periodontal disease is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis results in gums that are red, swollen, and bleed. While this may be a shocking development when you first brush your teeth and notice blood, the good thing about this stage is that the symptoms are reversible. Sometimes, all you need is better home care and a professional dental cleaning at 5th Avenue Dental.

Prevention

Scheduling regular dental checkups is an important first step in maintaining overall oral care. During your examination at 5th Avenue Dental, your gums will be evaluated for signs of periodontal disease. Our dentist will look at a variety of things, such as the firmness and color of your gums. A tiny instrument known as a periodontal probe will be used to gently measure the space between your gums and your teeth. This will determine whether any pockets are present. A normal measurement between your teeth and healthy gums is 3 millimeters or less. In general, the more advanced periodontal disease has become, the greater the pocket size.

Forgoing unusual cases, gum disease can be prevented by brushing at least twice a day and always cleaning between your teeth with an interdental cleaner or floss once a day. When searching for the best tools for your at-home oral care, look for products that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This is your quality assurance that they meet the minimum ADA criteria for effectiveness and safety. Our dentist at 5th Avenue Dental may recommend additions products or instructions you can use at home to target periodontal disease.

Even flossing and brushing regularly can leave unwanted plaque on your teeth, especially surrounding the gum line. In addition to the development of gum disease, plaque that has been left on your teeth can harden in a porous, rough deposit known as tartar or calculus. Once tarter has been hardened, it can only be removed at a dental office during regular cleaning.

If you are looking for other creative ways to prevent and reverse the effects of early onset gum diseases, or simply wanting to improve your oral health overall, try these tips:

Brush Right – The American Dental Association says that brushing should occur at least twice a day. Block out a good 5 minutes at least two times a day for the best oral hygiene.

Don’t Forget the Gumline – Your gumline catches plaque, which is where gingivitis starts. This is also the most neglected area when you brush. Place your brush at a 45-degree angle and move back and forth on your gumline to ensure the best results.

Buy a New Toothbrush – Your toothbrush should be replaced at least every 3 months. An old and frayed toothbrush is not going to do its job effectively. Although the American Dental Association reports that electric toothbrushes do a better job, a manual toothbrush can be just as effective if you are brushing properly.

Promote Bone Health – Keep your bones strong by exercising and avoiding smoking. Recent studies also show that intakes of 800 milligrams of calcium a day will help to prevent the development of gum disease.

Stimulate Your Gums – A specially designed or rubber gum stimulator is preferred over a toothpick for massaging gums. It also helps to clean surfaces between your teeth. Use the stimulator at a 45-degree angle to your gumline and implement a circular motion for 10 seconds before moving on to the next tooth.

Fill Up on Vitamin C – While vitamin C won’t do much for the cure of gingivitis, it can help with bleeding gums. It is recommended by the National Institute of Health to take a 100 to 200 milligram dose daily.

Use Mouthwash – In a study performed by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, mouthwash can reduce the effects of gingivitis and inhibit the development of plaque.

Examine Your Lifestyle – Are you getting enough sleep? Are you stressed? Do you work around chemicals? Any one of these factors can inadvertently affect your gum health. Examine your lifestyle and see what you can do to live healthier.

Warning Signs

In many cases, you might not even be aware that you have a gum disease. This is because there isn’t typically any pain involved with the early onset of this disease. However, there are warning signs to look out for. If you experience any of the following, schedule an appointment with our experts at 5th Avenue Dental as soon as possible.

  • Blood present during brushing
  • Tender, swollen, or red gums
  • Gums that have begun to pull away from the teeth
  • Pus present between gum and teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Teeth that are loose or separating
  • Changes to your bite
  • A change in your partial denture fit

If you or someone you know has experienced symptoms of periodontal disease, don’t wait to get professional help. Call our dental experts at 5th Avenue Dental in Spokane Today to make an appointment.