What is periodontitis and how does gum disease affect your health?
Periodontitis is an oral disease which begins as relatively painless gingivitis but can become a serious dental disease if left untreated.
This disease is caused by the accumulation of plaque along your gum line which can harden and become a harder substance known as tartar. Pockets form between the teeth and irritated gums, and bacteria collect here, which can lead to other health problems such as cardiovascular disease. Once hardened, only your dentist will have the tools to remove plaque.
While this condition may begin with bleeding gums it can advance to bone loss and eventual tooth loss as well. In fact, gum disease is one of the most common causes of tooth loss in adults.
Brushing and flossing is your first line of defence against this condition as well as attending regular dental hygiene appointments.
What are some ways that you can help prevent periodontitis?
There are a number of other ways that you can help prevent this condition such as:
Watch the ingredients and side effects of your medications. Certain medications can contribute to and aggravate gum disease, including antidepressants, heart medicines and oral contraceptives.
Consuming more vitamins A and C, which are part of a healthy diet that can help prevent periodontitis. Conversely, cut sugary and starchy foods, which allow plaque to build.
Visit the dentist at the first sign of a dental condition. Correct dental problems or oral health issues such as teeth grinding, misaligned or crowded teeth. It can be more challenging to properly clean teeth that aren’t properly spaced, thus providing room for plaque to grow and thrive.
Gently massage your gums. Along with brushing and flossing regularly (at least twice a day for two minutes each time for brushing, and once daily for thorough flossing), show your gums some love by gently massaging them, which increases blood flow to the tissue.
Strengthen your teeth with fluoride toothpaste. This key ingredient removes the buildup of plaque bacteria along the gum line without irritating gums.
Give up bad habits such as smoking. Smoking is not only strongly associated with the onset of gum disease, but it also makes it more difficult for your gums to heal once they’re damaged, as smoking weakens the immune system.
Become aware of your risk factors. Whether genetics, diet, age, smoking or other factors make you more susceptible to periodontitis, knowledge is power when it comes to reducing your risk and staying healthy.
Ask your dentist about treatment options. The earlier your dentist can detect periodontitis (if you do get it), the better. That's because it's easier to treat gum disease in its earlier stages than when it has advanced to the point that you start to lose teeth or jaw bone tissue. Depending on how far the disease has progressed and its severity, there are surgical and non-surgical options for treatment.
By keeping up with a rigorous oral hygiene routine, you can help prevent this disease. Our gums are as important as our teeth when it comes to our oral health, so it’s important not to neglect them.