02 Jul What is Periodontal Disease and how do I prevent it?
Periodontal disease is gum disease.
During early forms of gum disease your gums may bleed easily either on brushing or sometimes spontaneously and your gums will look slightly swollen and quite red. If left untreated this can proceed into full blown Periodontitis which means inflammation of the periodontium or what we know as the periodontal ligament. This is the structure the tooth sits in inside the bone in your jaw.
If this structure becomes inflamed or diseased it can become damaged and reduce the attachment of the tooth to the bone, hence resulting in loosening of teeth and lengthening of teeth.
Practically all adults at some time in their life have some degree of gum disease but not all will progress into full blown periodontitis, however, we do know that untreated gum disease is more likely to progress.
So what can we do? And more importantly, what can YOU do?
Prevention of dental disease has always been important and never has it been more important than in relation to gum disease.
We can prevent gum disease and it’s progression by :-
- Good oral hygiene
- Brushing a least twice a day
- Using a good method of cleansing between teeth – floss/interdental brushes
- Brushing teeth, gums and tongue when brushing
- Visiting your Dentist at least once a year
- Visiting your Dental Hygienist at least twice a year and more if you are more at risk
- Having the right gum treatments as advised by your dental team
- Having a good diet full of the nutrients required
Which patients are more at risk from advanced gum disease?
- Patients with Diabetes
- Patients with Heart Diseases
- Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Patients who are undergoing medical treatments with certain medications
- Older patients
- Patients with poor oral hygiene or perhaps with a poor ability to clean their teeth
- Patients who smoke or use tobacco products
- There may be a genetic link so if there is a history of gum disease in your family you may also be at higher risk
- Stress may also be a factor as it is in many diseases as it affects the body’s ability to fight off infection
- Poor nutrition can also affect your ability to ward off gum disease
Some of these risk factors can be altered but many cannot and so if you have one of the above risk factors it is even more important to have regular checks and keep your gum health in tip top condition.
Our dentists work closely with our dental hygienists to provide you with a plan to treat and prevent gum disease. It is different for every patient and will take into consideration all aspects of your medical and dental health for your benefit.
However, as with all prevention, a lot rests on you, our patient. How you maintain your teeth and gums between visits will determine how your gum disease progresses and indeed whether it will.
If you are concerned about your gums and your risk factors we would be delighted to have a chat about it either at your next appointment or earlier. Just ring the practice on 01623 629359 and arrange an appointment or contact us via email or the website.
More information is also available from the British Society of Periodontology.