How Can I Prevent Periodontal Disease?

Artistic rendering of the stages of periodontal or gum disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a serious dental health issue, but it is preventable. Here, we’ll explain what periodontal disease is, what causes it, and how you can prevent it.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is a gum disease that is brought on by plaque (that sticky, clear film) buildup in your mouth. Some symptoms of gum disease can be subtle. More noticeable ones include bleeding gums, red or swollen gums, receding gums, loose teeth, changes in bite, and persistent bad breath. Gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, often directly precedes periodontal disease. If gingivitis is not treated, then the inflammation turns into periodontal disease. This is when the gums pull away from the teeth to form pockets that are the perfect places for bacteria and debris to build up in. When the pockets become infected, the plaque continues to spread further along and under the gums. If left untreated, periodontal disease can progress to the point where the gum tissue and bone are compromised. Eventually, the teeth are no longer supported and they can fall out.

What causes periodontal disease?

There are a number of things that cause periodontal disease, but the primary cause is plaque buildup. This happens when the plaque is not removed daily through regular brushing and flossing. There are a number of other reasons why you may develop periodontal disease, however. Your genetics can play a role since about 30% of people are genetically more susceptible. If you’re a smoker or tobacco user, you are also at a higher risk for developing gum disease. Furthermore, if you have crowded or misaligned teeth, this can make it harder to floss and brush your teeth thoroughly. This often leads to more plaque buildup and therefore can lead to periodontal disease. Other causes of periodontal disease include grinding teeth, stress, dry mouth, fluctuating hormones, and poor nutrition. It has also been linked to some diseases such as IBS, HIV, and leukemia.

How can you prevent periodontal disease?

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by maintaining good oral health through daily dental habits. This means you should be brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time. You should also floss at least once a day (preferably before bed), and use a fluoride toothpaste which will help strengthen your teeth. Additionally, a healthy diet low in sugars and carbs and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals is also important. Last, but not least, regular checkups and cleanings are essential to reducing plaque buildup and preventing periodontal disease. A professional hygienist can remove plaque and tartar that even the best cleaning at home cannot get.

Riverstone Dental Care treats gums disease!

If you are experiencing some of the symptoms of gum disease, contact our office in Couer d’Alene or Post Falls for an appointment. We perform deep cleanings that will remove the built-up tartar and plaque. This type of cleaning is more thorough than a regular cleaning since we pay special attention to pockets at or below the gumline. We also use an antibiotic treatment that will kill the infection in the pockets and shrink them. We even offer laser treatment for more advanced stages of gum disease. Gum disease can be serious so don’t delay treatment because you are worried about cost. We offer a number of payment methods in addition to an affordable In-House Dental Plan. We’ve got you covered at Riverstone Dental Care.

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