How You Can Prevent Periodontal Disease

Categories: Dental Tips, Dentistry

When you think about a healthy mouth, most of the time you think about how your teeth look. Are they straight? Is your smile bright? But oftentimes, it’s easy to forget the role the gums play. Even if you have great-looking teeth and you’re cavity-free, you are not immune to periodontal diseases. Pain is not one of the main symptoms, so many people do not realize they are dealing with gum disease.

 What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis is the term used for gum disease. It is an inflammatory disease triggered by bacteria. If it is left untreated, it can cause loose teeth and, eventually, tooth loss. Periodontal disease begins with gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. When bacteria are allowed to accumulate on the teeth, they can cause the gums to become swollen and red. It gradually worsens but, if detected early on by Dr. Crisafulli, the process can be stopped, and healthy gums restored.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

The primary cause of periodontal disease is bacteria. When plaque builds up on the teeth, it provides a great breeding ground for bacteria. The sugars and carbohydrates in plaque attract bacteria. When plaque isn’t removed, it calcifies and turns into tartar or calculus. Brushing and flossing cannot remove this substance; only professional cleaning can. Gum tissue is delicate, and bacteria irritate it. As plaque hardens, it causes redness, swelling, soreness, and inflammation. If it’s not removed, it can lead to infection.

Other Things that can Contribute to Gum Disease

Even though plaque and bacteria work together to cause periodontal disease, there are other contributing factors. Some of those risk factors include:

  •  Use of tobacco and marijuana products. When you smoke or chew tobacco, it can cause damage to gum tissue. Regular marijuana use and vaping have also been linked to an increase in gum disease.
  •  Hormonal changes. Changes in hormone levels can be a risk factor for gum disease since it makes gums more susceptible to a bacterial infection.
  •  Medication side effects. Some medications increase the risk of gum disease. In particular, medications that inhibit the production of saliva, which provides natural protection for the teeth and gums.
  •  Weakened immune system. Bad bacteria can wreak havoc in the body and weaken the immune system. Some conditions like HIV or diabetes cause weakened immune systems making it more difficult to fight gum disease.
  •  Genetics. Some people can be genetically predisposed to periodontal disease. This is why people who observe poor oral hygiene practices may not have any periodontal issues, while someone who brushes and flosses regularly does.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

Symptoms of periodontal disease can vary depending on the stage of the disease. It also varies between individuals. Here are some of the main symptoms of gum disease to look out for.

  •  Bleeding when brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods. Bleeding gums are often the earliest sign of gum problems like gingivitis. You may notice bleeding during your regular oral hygiene practices, or if you eat chewy or hard foods. It’s essential to schedule an exam with Dr. Crisafulli at this stage to prevent gum disease from worsening.
  •  Bad breath that won’t go away. Bacteria buildup in your mouth can cause a foul taste. If you notice you always seem to have a bad taste or bad breath, it’s time to see your Bothell dentist.
  •  Gums that are tender, swollen, or red. When periodontal diseases are not caught early enough it can progress to an infection. Once there is the presence of infection, your gums may become swollen and change to a bright or dark red color.
  •  Receding gum lines. As the systemic disease progresses, your gums may begin to break down. They will separate from your teeth. You may not notice it, but you might notice that your teeth start to appear longer.
  •  Painful chewing or loose teeth. In the latter stages, supporting bones can start to erode. This can cause your teeth to loosen and move around a bit. You may notice your teeth not fitting together properly when you bite. You may also start to feel pain when you are chewing.

If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with Dr. Wendy B. Crisafulli, DDS to be evaluated. A dental professional can examine your gums and look for signs of gum disease or infection that you may not be able to see.

Periodontal Disease Treatment

If a dental professional at your Bothell, WA dental office diagnoses you with periodontal disease, they will offer a variety of treatment options based on the severity of your case. These treatments may include:

  •  Scaling and root planing. Scaling is a deep professional cleaning technique that removes plaque and tartar from the teeth. Root planing removes plaque and tartar from the root surfaces. After the teeth are clean, gum tissue starts to heal.
  •  Periodontal gum surgery. This procedure is an option when the periodontal pockets around the teeth become too deep.
  •  Gum graft surgery. In later stages, the gums can recede, and you may need surgery to reshape the gums. Oftentimes, new tissue is grafted in to cover exposed tooth roots.
  •  Extraction. In the absolute worst cases of gum disease, bone loss becomes so severe some teeth cannot be saved and removal is necessary.

 Other Health Implications of Periodontal Disease

In some cases, periodontal disease can impact more than your mouth. Over the last few years, research has indicated that there are links between your overall health and gum disease. Some of these links  may include:

  •  Heart disease
  •  Stroke
  •  Respiratory disease
  •  Premature birth
  •  Diabetes

It’s important to not ignore tender or bleeding gums. The sooner you can get a diagnosis of periodontal disease, the sooner it can be treated.

dental supplies tohelp prevent periodontal disease

Best Oral Hygiene Practices to Prevent Gum Problems

To maintain good periodontal health, your dental care team can provide instructions to help you reduce the bacteria in your mouth. This involves keeping both teeth and gums clean. Your Crisafulli Dental professional can help you learn how to brush and floss properly for the best results. They may also recommend oral hygiene products like mouthwash or a water pick. 

Here are a few oral hygiene tips to help keep your gums, teeth, and mouth healthy:

  •  Use fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth twice a day.
  •  Ask about using an electric toothbrush, as it may be more effective.
  •  Floss at least once daily to remove plaque.
  •  Visit your Bothell dentist at least twice a year for a professional cleaning.
  •  Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.

Don’t Avoid Symptoms of Gum Disease – Contact Us!

Untreated periodontal disease can cause tooth loss and many other problems. Avoid these problems by scheduling a dental appointment as soon as you notice any symptoms or differences in the appearance of your gums. If you have any questions about symptoms, or to schedule an appointment, call Crisafulli Dental or request an appointment online.