Let’s start our look at preventing periodontal diseases (gingivitis and periodontitis) by understanding what they are in the first place. Generally, these are issues that can lead to the death or loss of a tooth, but they begin with that sticky substance that builds on your teeth after eating and overnight – plaque.
The human mouth is a relatively dirty place and is full of bacteria. This can build up on teeth and form the substance known as plaque. Brushing our teeth and eating properly can often reduce the development of large amounts of this substance, but there are times when even the most vigilant miss areas in need of cleaning. This can cause the plaque to harden and then turn into a substance known as tartar or calculus. This is worse when it is hidden beneath the gums because it can trap bacteria and food and lead to infection.
The infection can impact the roots of the teeth and the gum tissue and lead to gingivitis that if untreated can progress to periodontitis. Gingivitis is treatable and starts with swollen, discolored, and tender gums that might bleed when brushed or cleaned. If left untreated, the condition worsens to periodontitis and the soft tissue as well as the supporting jaw around the teeth may be lost. This puts teeth at risk for loss as well – and there are times when the condition has actually progressed too far to be treated or stopped.
So, how on earth can you prevent such a catastrophic issue? It is actually pretty simple. Most dental experts will tell you that:
- Twice annual dental cleanings;
- Effective brushing twice daily;
- Proper flossing twice daily; and
- Refraining from tobacco use
Will all keep your teeth and gums fairly safe over the long term.
When you visit your dental provider for a regular cleaning, they will remove any plaque that has been building up along the gum line and between the teeth. This is a primary step in preventing gingivitis. This is a condition that precedes the onset of periodontitis, so preventing “phase one” (so to speak) is always going to eliminate the much worse “phase two”.
It is not rocket science that overcomes periodontal diseases; it is simple maintenance and proper cleansing. Why not get started today?