If your gums have ever bled while brushing your teeth, ignoring it is one thing you should not do. Redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums are all symptoms of early gum disease which, if left untreated, can progress into a harmful infection called periodontitis. The good thing is this: if we catch it soon enough, periodontitis can be prevented with regular dental cleanings and proper oral hygiene.
What Causes Periodontitis?
When bacteria on the teeth don’t get thoroughly brushed away, plaque forms and eventually turns into tartar, which is irritating to the gums. If that tartar sits for an extended period of time, periodontitis can settle in, causing pockets in the gums to fill with even more bacteria. All of this can lead to:
● Receding gums
● Bad breath
● Spaces between the teeth
● Loose or sensitive teeth
● Permanent loss of teeth
Are Some More at Risk Than Others?
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, smoking is the most significant risk factor in patients with periodontal disease. Those who have diabetes or AIDS, women going through hormonal changes, and anyone taking medications that reduce saliva production are also more susceptible.
How Can I Prevent Periodontitis?
Because gum disease is most often caused by poor dental hygiene, some great potential methods to help lower your risk of developing periodontitis are to:
● Quit smoking.
● Schedule professional dental cleanings twice a year to remove plaque and tartar.
● Brush your teeth twice a day, and make sure to brush along the gumline.
● Consider using an electric toothbrush.
● Consider the use of fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your enamel.
● Floss between teeth at least once a day to remove plaque where your toothbrush can’t reach.
● Swish with antibacterial mouthwash after brushing to kill germs and reduce plaque.
● Avoid sugary or starchy foods, which contribute to bacterial growth.
● Eat foods that are known to promote healthy oral bacteria, including dairy products, crunchy fruits and vegetables, and leafy greens.
Early Intervention is Key
If you have concerns about the health of your gums or have been told by your dentists that you suffer from periodontal disease, it may be beneficial to schedule an appointment with our office as early as possible. Our Alexandria Periodontist is experienced in the treatment of gum disease and can help you restore a healthy mouth and body. You can contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS to set up an appointment and get the care you need. We look forward to helping you smile healthily, and happily.