Taking Care of Your Teeth: How to Prevent Periodontal Disease

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It is no secret that our mouths are chock-full of bacteria. The dark and moist nature of our mouths provide the perfect environment for germs and bacteria to multiply and thrive; hence the reason we are taught as small children to brush and floss every day.

The plaque and tartar build up on our teeth caused from food and drink consumption can cause serious problems to our dental health if we do not regularly “brush and wash” it away.

Over 3 million people in the United States per year suffer from some form of gum disease. Periodontal disease can be as simple as swollen red gums to an infection so severe that it causes tooth loss.

If you go a period of time without brushing your pearly whites, the first periodontal issue you may experience is Gingivitis. This gum disease consists of swollen, red gums that easily bleed. However, this can typically be cured by resuming normal brushing and flossing habits.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, when gingivitis is left untreated or if bad dental hygiene habits are prolonged, “periodontitis” (which means “inflammation around the tooth”) may manifest. This disease causes the gums to separate from the teeth and form open spaces that become infected. The body’s immune system attempts to rid the mouth of the bacteria as the plaque accumulates and festers beneath the gum line. Dangerous bacteria and the body’s natural means to fight infection start to deteriorate the bone and connective tissue that keep the teeth in place. If left untreated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are completely ruined. At this point, the teeth eventually become loose and have to be taken from the mouth”

The thought of losing your teeth can be scary. However, the great news is that there are ways to prevent yourself from becoming victim to this horrible gum disease.

1. Brushing and Flossing
The most obvious preventative measure you can take is to brush and floss regularly, You should brush your teeth twice a day, preferably with a toothpaste containing fluoride. According to WebMD, fluoride helps prevent the tooth from decay and makes it more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria and sugar. Flossing is a great way to get the bacteria and plaque wedged in between your teeth that a toothbrush would not be able to reach.

2. Go to the Dentist
Visiting a dentist for a routine cleaning and checkup should also be a staple in your regimen in preventing Periodontal disease. “Although regular brushing and flossing will remove a lot of the plaque, over time you will experience a build that turns into “tartar” and can only be removed by professional cleaning,” said Embassy Dental. Dentists have access to tools and devices that can give your mouth the ultimate “spring cleaning”.

3. Nix the Smoking
This should be an obvious one. Smoking not only causes lung cancer and other nasty diseases, it is terrible for your teeth and gums. The chemicals from cigarette smoke interfere with the attachment between the gum and tooth. It causes tartar and plaque buildup, tooth discoloration and foul breath.

4. Limit your sugar intake
High refined sugar intake is not good for your body or your teeth. Although sugar does not directly cause tooth decay, the bacteria that does thrives off of refined sugars and carbohydrates. After eating candies or high sugary foods, it is best to brush your teeth immediately after.

5.Focus on eating certain types of foods for gum health
Did you know that eating cheese or drinking milk provide a special type of protein, called casein, that research has suggested will reduce acid levels in the mouth. Eating high fiber foods such as vegetables will also assist with sweeping plaque off the teeth and gums.

Periodontal diseases can become a very serious issue if not properly addressed. With the right preventative measures, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting the disease.