What is Periodontal Disease?

Oral hygiene

Periodontal disease is the term used for a variety of gum diseases including gingivitis and periodontitis. Gun diseases are caused by the build up of bacteria along the gum line. The mouth is full of bacteria, but proper tooth care removes a lot of the bacteria along with particles and mucus that can build up on the teeth throughout the day and night.

All of that stuff on the teeth develop into what is called plaque. Plaque is the clear sticky film that you may feel on your teeth when you first wake up or when you haven’t brushed your teeth recently. Over time, the plaque will harden into what is called tartar. Tartar can not be removed with brushing alone and requires a professional cleaning.

When the teeth are covered in plaque and tartar, the gums along the teeth can get turn get and get swollen and bloody. While uncomfortable, gingivitis is a mild periodontal disease and can be corrected with proper tooth care.

Periodontitis is an advanced version of gingivitis that can actually destroy the gums and surrounding areas leading to serious medical issues. The best approach is to prevent periodontal disease before it starts. This includes daily brushing and flossing.

You can also reduce the risk by addressing other risk factors that can lead to periodontal disease. Other risk factors include smoking, diabetes, and certain medications. There are some factors you cannot control including genetic susceptibility and hormonal changes, so cleaning is even more important if there are other risk factors.

It is also important to regularly see the dentist and get professional cleaning every six months. Practicing good oral hygiene is a serious prevention tool. Going to the dentist regularly can also ensure that any developing gum diseases are detected early. The earlier the detection the better for treatment. The dentist can also see if there are any other potential problems that may require additional work. Many dentists can also offer teeth whitening, which is safer to do with a dentist than home remedies.

Like any habit, the sooner it is formed, the better it will last. If you have children, it is important to make sure they are thoroughly brushing their teeth at least twice a day and flossing every day. If they develop that strong habit while they are young, they will be more likely to be conscientious about their oral health when they are older. Similarly, if you make sure your child visits the dentist every six months, they will be more likley to maintain the habit as an adult.

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