Adults over the age of 35 lose more teeth to periodontal disease than from cavities. In fact, three out of four adults are affected by poor gum health at some point in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by maintaining a daily routine of brushing, flossing, and using mouth wash.
Gum disease and tooth decay are both mainly caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a white or colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gumline. It constantly forms on your teeth but brushing your teeth thoroughly to keep them clear of plaque and bacteria will keep gum disease at bay. If left untreated, plaque will harden into tartar (also called calculus), which can only be removed by a dentist.
Factors that can increase your risk of developing gum disease include:
Bacteria found in plaque creates toxins that irritate the gums, causing them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. This is the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis. If this is left untreated, your gums can separate from your teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. This progression is where periodontitis (periodontal disease) sets in.
As periodontal disease progresses, the supporting gum tissue and bone that hold teeth in place deteriorate. Eventually, this leads to tooth loss and can be linked to other medical issues like high blood pressure and heart disease.
Other than brushing and flossing, it takes professional examinations and deep cleanings to undo as much of the damage caused by gum disease as possible.
Unfortunately, even with the most diligent at-home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once it starts, you’ll need to see a dentist trained in periodontal care to stop it from progressing.
At Evans Family Dental, we are committed to providing exceptional periodontal maintenance and helping you fight against gum disease. If you notice signs of gum irritation or plaque on your teeth and gums, reach out to our office to make an appointment for a dental evaluation and a prophylaxis cleaning.