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Periodontal (gum) disease is a growing problem for many though it is completely preventable.
While good oral hygiene habits can help prevent periodontal disease, it can still develop due to medical conditions or from neglect. The earlier we diagnose it, the easier it will be to treat.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by tartar and bacteria that build up on the teeth, especially under the gumline. The sticky plaque attracts bacteria and eventually turns into hard tartar. The tartar and bacteria irritate the gums and cause infection.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
Brushing twice daily and flossing every evening using good technique will help remove a lot of plaque, but even the most diligent brusher and flosser may have a hard time cleaning off all the plaque, especially under the gumline. You can improve your chances of staving off periodontal disease by having a minimum of twice-yearly professional dental cleanings from one of our excellent dental hygienists.
So what if you brush, floss and get your regular cleanings like you are supposed to and still get periodontal disease?
Other factors can contribute and cause a predisposition to gum disease:
- Smoking automatically increases the odds of developing gum disease. If you need help quitting, talk to your dentist.
- Diabetes and heart disease have both been linked to periodontal disease.
- Numerous prescription medications are known to cause dry mouth, which can contribute to gum disease.
- Illnesses that inhibit your immune system, including cancer, increase your chances of developing periodontal disease.
- Genetics also play a role. Gum disease tends to run in families.
Treating Periodontal Disease
How your gum disease is treated will depend on how advanced it is and how much damage it has caused. It’s important to treat gum disease, even in the early stages. Untreated gum disease will not only progress in your mouth but can also lead to health challenges throughout the rest of your body.
Mild gum disease can often be treated with a renewed commitment to good oral hygiene habits and an antimicrobial mouthwash. Moderate-to-advanced gum disease may require a deep cleaning treatment, known as scaling and root planing. During this treatment, we remove the tartar from below the gumline and get rid of the rough spots where bacteria tend to gather.
Are you concerned that you might have periodontal disease? Call our practice so that we can evaluate your gum health and organise a treatment plan to help you enjoy a healthy smile.