Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an inflammatory process that can ultimately end in tooth loss if not properly treated. For patients who have undergone scaling and root planing, we recommend “periodontal maintenance” visits every 3-4 months to be sure the bone loss does not progress.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is to practice regular and thorough tooth brushing and flossing techniques. We recommend brushing for two minutes twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste, in addition to nightly flossing and the use of a mouth rinse.
Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice proper oral hygiene habits well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. We recommend brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste for two minutes two times a day along with nightly flossing and use of a fluoridated mouth rinse. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent dental home care, gingival inflammation can still occur from other reasons such as genetics, illness, medications, or hormonal changes. Once periodontal disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.