Taking good care of your mouth, teeth and gums is very important. Good oral and dental hygiene can help prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease—and can help you keep your teeth as you get older.
Your mouth is a window into what’s going on in the rest of your body, often serving as a helpful starting point for detecting the early signs and symptoms of diseases that affect your entire body. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms.
Periodontal diseases can affect one or more of the periodontal tissues/structures (e.g. alveolar bone, periodontal ligament, cementum and gingiva/gums). While there are many different periodontal diseases that can affect these tooth-supporting tissues/structures, by far the most common ones are plaque-induced conditions, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily, this is called Gingivitis. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. This is called Periodontitis. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial found in dental plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This calculus can only be removed by a dental professional. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.
Treating Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease can be treated depending on the severity of the disease:
- Scaling and root planing
- Periodontal maintenance