Periodontal Disease Prevention and Treatment
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Periodontal (gum) disease is a growing problem for many. Although good oral hygiene habits can help prevent periodontal disease, it can still happen. The earlier we catch it, the easier it will be to treat.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by plaque that builds up on the teeth and especially under the gumline. The sticky plaque attracts bacteria and eventually turns into hard tartar. The tartar and bacteria irritate the gums, causing them to recede. This creates pockets between the teeth and the gums, leading to infection. The acids produced by the bacteria damage the gum and bone tissue, continuing the cycle.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
Brushing twice daily and flossing every evening using good technique will help remove a lot of plaque, but even the most diligent brusher and flosser may have a hard time cleaning off all the plaque, especially the plaque that hides under the gumline. Patients can improve their chances of staving off periodontal disease by getting twice-yearly professional dental cleanings from one of our excellent dental hygienists.
So what if you brush, floss, and get your regular cleanings like you are supposed to and still get periodontal disease?
Other factors can contribute and cause a predisposition to gum disease:
- Smoking automatically increases the odds of developing gum disease. Patients who need help quitting should speak with their dentist.
- Diabetes and heart disease have both been linked to periodontal disease.
- Numerous prescription medications are known to cause dry mouth, which can contribute to gum disease.
- Illnesses that inhibit the immune system, including cancer, increase the chances of developing periodontal disease.
- Genetics also play a role. Gum disease tends to run in families.
Treating Periodontal Disease
How gum disease is treated will depend a great deal on how advanced it is and how much damage it has caused. It’s important to treat gum disease, even in the early stages. Untreated gum disease will not only progress in the mouth, but it can also lead to health troubles throughout the rest of the body.
Mild gum disease can often be treated with a renewed commitment to good oral hygiene habits and an antimicrobial mouthwash. Moderate-to-advanced gum disease may require a deep cleaning treatment known as scaling and root planing. During this treatment, we remove the tartar from below the gumline and get rid of the rough spots where bacteria tend to gather.
Are you concerned that you might have periodontal disease? Call our office so that we can evaluate your gum health.