Periodontal disease can pose a serious threat to your smile. As this oral condition progresses, the disease weakens the gums, robbing the teeth of the support necessary for optimal health and appearance.
Luckily, you can prevent periodontal disease through your oral hygiene choices. In fact, when some patients implement appropriate habits, they can even halt or reverse the effects of mild to moderate periodontal disease without professional intervention.
In this blog, we provide a brief overview of periodontal disease and list five habits you can use to significantly reduce your risk of this condition.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a bacterial condition affecting some or all of the gum tissue in a patient's mouth. Early periodontal disease is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis typically does not threaten the integrity of a patient's teeth but can cause discomfort, swelling, unusual bleeding, and bad breath.
As periodontal disease progresses past gingivitis and into periodontitis, the condition can contribute to density issues in the jawbone and eventual tooth loss. Periodontitis is characterized by the formation of openings around tooth roots, known as pockets, that trap plaque and bacteria below the bone line.
Periodontal disease has also been linked to other health issues such as an increased risk of stroke, premature delivery, and diabetes.
While gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, is extremely common and can usually be managed through lifestyle changes, untreated gingivitis will lead to the development of periodontitis.
How Can You Prevent Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease can potentially affect anyone at any age. Your oral health habits play the largest role in determining your risk of developing periodontal disease.
Use the following five habits prevent gingivitis and periodontitis.
1. Choose the Right Hygiene Tools
The right cleaning tools can optimize your oral hygiene and reduce the amount of plaque that stays on your teeth and gums. Since plaque is the primary catalyst for periodontal disease, you should prioritize keeping your mouth as plaque-free as possible.
Follow your dentist's recommendations. These suggestions may include a soft-bristled toothbrush, electric toothbrush, or Waterpik.
2. Eat a Nutritious Diet
Balanced nutrition fortifies your teeth and gums from the inside. Additionally, many healthy foods like vegetables assist in cleaning bacteria off of the surface of the teeth.
3. Keep a Strong Daily Hygiene Regimen
The most important step you can take toward preventing periodontal disease is establishing and keeping a good oral hygiene routine. Dental experts recommend that you brush twice a day and floss at least once a day.
You may also want to use a mouthwash to inhibit bacterial growth on your teeth.
4. Limit Harmful Substances
Tobacco and alcohol are linked to a higher risk of periodontal disease. Limit your alcohol intake. If you are a smoker or you use chewing tobacco, it is recommended that you quit.
5. Schedule Routine Dental Cleanings
No matter how good your home cleaning tools and daily habits are, there isn't a substitute for professional dental cleanings. You should schedule cleanings and exams every six months. These cleanings include scaling, which is the removal of plaque along the gumline. Additionally, dental exams allow for early detection of other dental issues.
If you struggle with good oral hygiene habits or existing periodontal disease, then discuss your situation with your dentist. Dentists can use minimally invasive, minor procedures to get patients back on track, sometimes in a single appointment.
You should prioritize the habits listed above, as well as any recommended by your dentist, to prevent the development or progression of periodontal disease. For comprehensive gum care services, contact our experienced staff at Family Dental Center. We look forward to helping you.