Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support for your natural teeth. There are numerous disease entities requiring different treatment approaches. Bacterial dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.
Why Is Oral Hygiene So Important?
Adults over the age of thirty-five lose more teeth to gum disease (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected by periodontal disease at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by employing good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, on a daily basis.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque and can be accelerated by a number
of different factors. Plaque is a constantly forming, colorless film that sticks to your teeth. With thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove the germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). Calculus cannot be removed by normal home care and requires a professional cleaning for removal.
Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces) which can harbor more destructive bacteria. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this can lead to tooth loss.
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 can still develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition