What happens when you develop periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a condition that is also known as gum disease. It will gradually accumulate and infiltrate your gums, eventually leading to a serious condition that will have an impact on your overall health. This condition is known as gingivitis in its early stages, which can be painless, making gum disease difficult to diagnose until it is advanced.
Plaque collects on your teeth and along the gum line, then hardens into tartar or calculus, a rough, porous deposit. Pockets form between teeth and irritated gums, and bacteria accumulate here, leading to other health issues such as cardiovascular disease. Once the plaque has hardened, you will need to see a dentist who will use specialized tools to remove it.
Periodontitis, in its advanced stages, can cause bone structure loss and gum deterioration, as well as tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss.
That’s why removing plaque with a rigorous daily hygiene routine of brushing and flossing as well as attending regular dental hygiene appointments are key for prevention – and for maintaining your oral health.
What are some of the ways that you can help prevent periodontitis?
There are a number of ways that you can help to prevent gum disease from occurring to begin with including:
Take a look at your prescriptions. There are a few types of medications that may increase your risk of gum disease, including antidepressants, heart medicines and oral contraceptives.
Increase your consumption of vitamins A and C. These can help prevent periodontitis along with the rest of a healthy balanced diet. Conversely, cut sugary and starchy foods, which allow plaque to build.
Visit the dentist as soon as you think something is wrong. Correct dental problems or oral health issues such as teeth grinding, or 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 regularly. When you are brushing and flossing you should also show your gums some love by gently massaging them, which increases blood flow to the tissue.
Utilize fluoride toothpaste. This additive is vital in removing the buildup of plaque bacteria along the gum line without irritating gums with a bonus of coating your teeth to help protect them.
Don't pick up 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.
Be 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.
See if your dentist has a treatment option for periodontal disease. The earlier your dentist can detect periodontitis (if you do develop it), the better. This is because it is easier to treat gum disease in its early stages than it is when it has progressed to the point where you begin to lose teeth or jaw bone tissue. There are surgical and non-surgical treatment options depending on how far the disease has progressed and its severity.
Keeping up with regular oral hygiene and reducing your personal risk factors - will go a long way in the fight to prevent gum disease. Our gums are as important as our teeth when it comes to our oral health, so it’s important not to neglect them.