Avoid Periodontal Disease and healthy oral hygiene: Prevention starts at home
When you don’t brush your teeth for a while, you will notice a yellowish sticky paste that accumulates on them. This material looks like food debris, but it’s actually a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day.
Many of these bacteria are harmless. But other bacteria thrive in the plaque environment and multiply until they account for nearly 100% of the mass of the plaque. This is why it’s important to remove it.
Brush your teeth. Brushing after meals helps remove food debris and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. Don’t forget to include your tongue, bacteria loves to hide there. Quality brushing is key.
Floss. Flossing at least once a day helps remove food particles and plaque between teeth and along the gum line that your toothbrush can’t quite reach.
Swish with mouthwash. Using a mouthwash can help reduce plaque and can remove remaining food particles that brushing and flossing missed. Also, instead of just covering up offensive breath, treat the root problem in your mouth that is causing lingering bad breath that won’t go away.
Know your risk. Age, smoking, diet and genetics can all increase your risk for periodontal disease. If you are at increased risk, be sure to talk with your dental professional.
See a periodontist. Get an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation from a dental professional. A CPE looks at your teeth, plaque level, gums, bite, bone structure and other risk factors for periodontal disease. Identifying symptoms of gum disease early is key to protecting your teeth and gums.
Inflammation, or swelling of the gums (also known as gingivitis), can be one of the first warning signs of gum disease. Other symptoms include:
- gum redness
- bleeding while brushing or flossing
- receding gum line
- loose teeth
- constant bad breath
- mouth sores
It takes 24 hours for plaque, that is not removed from your teeth, to turn into calculus (tartar)! Therefore, daily home cleaning is significant in controlling plaque and tartar formation. Hard to reach areas will always need special attention.
Upon completion of your periodontal treatment, your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend that you have regular maintenance cleanings (periodontal cleanings), generally four times a year. At cleaning appointments, any pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Plaque and calculus, that is difficult for you to remove on a daily basis, will be removed from above and below the gum line.
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Misaligned or crowded teeth, braces or bridgework
- Grinding, gritting or clenching of teeth
- Fluctuating hormones
In addition to your periodontal cleaning and evaluation, your appointment will usually include:
- An examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs). This is essential for detection of any decay, tumors, cysts, or bone loss. X-rays also help to determine tooth and root positions.
- An examination of existing restorations. This checks current fillings, crowns, etc.
- An examination of tooth decay. This checks all tooth surfaces for decay.
- Oral cancer screening. This checks the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, cheek tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Oral hygiene recommendations. The review and recommendation of any oral hygiene aids as needed such as electric toothbrushes, special periodontal brushes, fluorides, rinses, etc.
- Teeth polishing. Removal of any tooth stains and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
Measures you may take to prevent gum disease and keep your teeth for a lifetime tip:
Brush for two to three minutes, at least twice a day, with fluoridated toothpaste. Be sure to brush along the gumline. Floss daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach.