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How Can I Prevent Periodontitis?

Periodontal disease can negatively affect not only our oral health but our overall physical health. Today, our Tecumseh dentists share some information on periodontitis and how you can prevent it.

What is periodontitis (gum disease)?

Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is a progressive condition that slowly affects your gums. It often starts as gingivitis, which may not cause any pain or noticeable symptoms until it progresses to a more advanced stage.

Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, accumulates on your teeth and along the gum line. Over time, it hardens into a rough deposit called tartar or calculus. This leads to the formation of pockets between the teeth and inflamed gums, providing a breeding ground for bacteria. If left untreated, gum disease can contribute to other health issues such as cardiovascular disease. Professional dental cleaning is necessary to remove hardened plaque.

In advanced stages, periodontitis can result in loss of bone structure and deterioration of gums, ultimately leading to tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is one of the primary causes of tooth loss in adults.

To prevent gum disease, it is crucial to maintain a diligent oral hygiene routine that includes regular brushing, flossing, and attending dental hygiene appointments. These practices are essential for preserving your oral health and preventing the progression of gum disease.

Preventing Periodontitis

There are also some less obvious tips that may help you avoid gum disease or reduce your risk of getting it. You may want to:

Take inventory of your medications. Check your medication list for any medications that may contribute to or worsen gum disease, such as antidepressants, heart medications, or oral contraceptives.

Increase your intake of vitamins A and C, as they are important for maintaining a healthy diet that can help prevent periodontitis. On the other hand, reduce your consumption of sugary and starchy foods, as they promote plaque buildup.

Address dental issues quickly. Seek treatment for dental problems or oral health issues like teeth grinding, misalignment, or crowding. Properly cleaning teeth that are not properly spaced can be more challenging, allowing plaque to thrive.

Gently massage your gums. In addition to regular brushing and flossing (brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, and thorough flossing once a day), incorporate gentle gum massages to improve blood flow to the tissues.

Use fluoride toothpaste. This essential ingredient helps remove plaque bacteria along the gum line without causing irritation.

Quit smoking. Smoking is strongly associated with the development of gum disease and impairs the healing process for damaged gums, as it weakens the immune system.

Know your risks. 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.

Bonus: Ask your dentist about periodontal disease treatment. 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. 

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.

Are you experiencing pain or bleeding in your gums? Contact our Tecumseh dentists to book an appointment today.

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Looking for a dentist in Tecumseh? We're happily accepting new patients at our dental clinic! Contact us to get started today. 

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