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How Can I Prevent Periodontitis?

Did you know that diseases affecting your gums can also cause internal concerns that can be detrimental to your overall health? Today, our Cornwall dentists talk about periodontitis, otherwise known as gum disease, and offer some advice on how you can help prevent it.

Gum Disease and Periodontitis: Are these the same thing?

Yes! Periodontitis is in fact the same thing as gum disease. Periodontitis is a progressive condition that gradually invades your gums. While the early stages may not be accompanied by any pain or discomfort, these will become more apparent if the disease advances as it is left untreated.

Plaque collects on your teeth and along the gum line, then hardens into a rough, porous deposit referred to as tartar or calculus. Pockets form between the teeth and irritated gums, and bacteria collect here, which can lead to other health problems such as cardiovascular disease. Once hardened, only your dentist will have the tools to remove plaque.

In its advanced stages, periodontitis can cause loss of bone structure and deterioration of gums - eventually even tooth loss. In fact, tooth loss in adults is most commonly caused by gum disease.

Removing plaque with a rigorous daily hygiene routine of brushing and flossing in addition to regular dental hygiene appointments is key for prevention – and for preserving your oral health. 

Preventing Periodontitis From Occurring

If you want to help prevent gum disease you can try:

Checking your medications. Certain medications can contribute to and aggravate gum disease, including antidepressants, heart medicines and oral contraceptives.

Get more vitamins A and C. These can be found in a healthy, balanced diet which can be beneficial to your overall health. Foods that are full;l of sugars and starches should also be avoided as these are known to increase plaque.

Treat dental issues quickly. Correct dental problems or oral health issues such as teeth grinding, and misaligned or crowded teeth. It can be more challenging to properly clean teeth that aren’t properly spaced, thus providing room for plaque to grow and thrive.

Gently massage your gums. Along with brushing and flossing regularly (at least twice a day for two minutes each time for brushing, and once daily for thorough flossing), show your gums some love by gently massaging them, which increases blood flow to the tissue.

Use toothpaste with added fluoride. This ingredient not only protects your teeth but it can also clear away plaque that tries to build up along your gums.

Quit smoking. Smoking is not only strongly associated with the onset of gum disease, but it also makes it more difficult for your gums to heal once they’re damaged, as smoking weakens the immune system.

Know your risks. Whether genetics, diet, age, smoking or other factors make you more susceptible to periodontitis, knowledge is power when it comes to reducing your risk and staying healthy.

Ask your dentist about periodontal disease treatment. The earlier your dentist can detect periodontitis (if you do get it), the better. That's because it's easier to treat gum disease in its earlier stages than when it has advanced to the point that you start to lose teeth or jaw bone tissue. Depending on how far the disease has progressed and its severity, there are surgical and non-surgical options for treatment. 

All in all, you should follow a routine oral hygiene routine to help prevent any serious dental conditions from occurring. Our gums are as important as our teeth when it comes to our oral health, so it’s important not to neglect them.

Are you in need of preventive care or a dental exam? Contact our Cornwall dentists to request an appointment.

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