There are lots of different issues that can affect our teeth. Many people are unaware that a condition known as periodontal disease is just as much of a threat to your teeth as cavities are. In fact, left untreated, periodontal disease can have disastrous consequences for your smile as a whole and your wider health and wellbeing.
What is periodontal disease and why does it need to be treated?
Periodontal disease is an extremely common infection of the soft tissue of the gums and other structures that support the teeth. You may also hear it called gum disease, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Periodontal disease develops when the plaque that continually forms on our teeth isn’t properly cleaned away, enabling the bacteria contained within it to spread onto the gum tissue. Initially, the gums will become sore, swollen and red, and you may notice them bleeding when you brush your teeth. However, the condition is progressive and if it isn’t treated promptly, it can result in far more unpleasant symptoms including bad breath, abscesses, dental pain, loose teeth, and even tooth loss. The supporting structure around the tooth – predominantly the root and jawbone – can also deteriorate. This can cause the shape of your face to change as well as your tooth to come out.
Finally, it is important to be aware that studies have also shown a definitive link between patients with periodontal disease and the development of some serious problems affecting your wider health. These include diabetes, heart disease, high blood press, and stroke to name just a few.
How can you care for your teeth when you have periodontal disease?
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to care for your teeth when you have periodontal disease that can limit or even reverse the effects of the condition. Here are our top tips for looking after teeth affected by gum disease.
Improve your oral hygiene
Great oral hygiene is one of the most effective weapons against periodontal disease. This is because if you clean your teeth at least twice each day and remember to floss, you are much more likely to have clean teeth. This is important since removing all traces of plaque from your teeth will significantly reduce the likelihood that you will experience gum disease. Be sure to use the right equipment – a small, round-headed brush on either a manual or electric toothbrush, and fluoride toothpaste. Ideally, you should clean after every meal and floss your teeth once each day.
Flossing is extremely important to protect your teeth from the periodontal disease since tiny particles of food and bacteria can become trapped between the teeth where they can cause gum disease to develop. Flossing can be done using conventional floss, interdental brush, water flosser or air flosser.
Hopefully, you don’t smoke, but if you do, now is the time to give up. Research has shown that patients who smoke are considerably more likely to develop periodontal disease and its associated symptoms, putting your oral and well as your general health at significant risk.
Book a professional dental cleaning
Professional dental cleans are recommended every year. These are carried out by your hygienist and use specialist tools and equipment to ensure that every trace of plaque is removed. A professional is the only one that can remove tartar, which is the name of the substance that forms when plaque isn’t properly removed from the teeth. Tartar hardens and sticks permanently to the teeth and enhances the progress of periodontal disease. Annual professional dental cleans will give our dental team a chance to check your overall oral health and spot any developing problems early before they become expensive and difficult to treat.
If you are found to need more extensive treatment, our dedicated dental team would be happy to discuss this with you in further detail. Please contact our offices to schedule an appointment.