Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. Gum tissue is not attached to the teeth as high it may appear. Instead, there is a shallow v-shaped crevice called a sulcus between the tooth and the gums. Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in that shallow groove where they cause the attachment of the gum tissues to the tooth to break down.
Periodontal diseases are classified according to the severity of the infection; the two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis, which is mild and reversible, only affects the gums though it may lead to a more serious and destructive form of periodontal disease if ignored.
It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good oral hygiene at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush and clean between your teeth regularly, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Prevention starts with cleaning your teeth regularly. Though it may seem routine, there are ways in which to make brushing your teeth more effective.
Periodontal disease usually first appears between the teeth, where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to develop the proper technique. The following instructions will help you, but remember it takes time and practice.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
A good balanced diet plays a large role in your dental health by helping to boost your body’s immune system, leaving you less vulnerable to oral disease. In addition, bacteria in your mouth feed on starchy foods and drinks such as crackers, bread, cookies, candy, and any sugar-containing beverages such as sodas. When bacteria feed, they produce acids which attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes or more. Foods that stick to your teeth or are slow to dissolve (such as chewy fruit snacks, dried fruit, hard candy, and granola bars) give the acids even more time to work on destroying tooth enamel.
It is suggested to limit between-meal snacking and drinking sugary drinks throughout the day, because these starchy foods and drinks create less acid when consumed as part of a meal. Saliva production increases at mealtime, rinsing away food particles and neutralizing harmful acids. Drink plain water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
There are so many products on the market that it may become confusing, and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.
Automatic and high-tech electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of patients. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator.
Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle; this is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so be sure discuss proper use of these brushes with your doctor.
If used in conjunction with proper brushing and flossing techniques, fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses can reduce tooth decay significantly. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stages of gum disease.