The statistics surrounding periodontal disease are surprising.
You have likely heard from your dentist that it’s important to floss, but have you stopped to think about just how important flossing—and taking care of your gums—is? Flossing your teeth—along with other important preventive measures—are useful in stopping periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is another term for gum disease at its most severe state, which is caused by infection in the surrounding areas that causes irreversible bone loss.
Gum disease has become an epidemic. Around 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States have some form of periodontal disease, and the condition only worsens when it’s not treated. In fact, by age 65, 68% of adults will have gum disease, and 20% of those in that age group will have lost all their teeth.
Periodontitis is not only one of the leading causes of tooth loss; studies also show possible links to other systemic health problems, such as diabetes, kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. There’s no question about it: periodontal disease needs to be prevented. But before we dive into prevention and treatment, we ask the question: what’s causing all of this? What is periodontal disease and why is it so destructive?
How does periodontal disease develop?
Plaque buildup is the biggest contributor to gum disease. How? Plaque is a mixture of food, bacteria, and the acids the bacteria excrete. As plaque builds up on your teeth and around the gum line, the gums begin to get infected. The name for this kind of gum disease at the earliest stage is gingivitis. Gingivitis is reversible through a combination of dental cleanings by your dentist and a great at-home oral hygiene routine.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it progresses into a stage called periodontitis. Pockets develop around the gum line and, as the plaque and tartar build up inside the pockets, the pockets deepen. Eventually, the infection reaches the bone. And infection of the bone causes bone loss. At this stage, the damage is irreversible, and as the surrounding bone tissue weakens, teeth are no longer held securely in place and start to fall out.
Which signs and symptoms are warning bells?
If gum disease is happening to everyone, doesn’t that mean that it’s bound to happen? The good answer to this question is no. Periodontal disease is largely preventable.. You can keep ahead of the game by knowing the warning signs.
Check the color of your gums. Are they light pink and firm? That’s excellent. However, if your gums are a darker shade of pink or red or discolored, that’s not a great sign. If you’re having any bleeding when you brush, that means there’s an infection there. If your teeth are sensitive, it may be due to the gums pulling back and exposing the more sensitive layer of your teeth, the dentin.
Some people may experience pain, but many do not. Don’t let its silent tendencies stop you from treating it. Stay on top of gum disease by preventing it and treating it before you begin experiencing pain.
Preventing periodontal disease in a busy, fast-paced world.
Making the time for proper brushing and flossing can be difficult when you have so many other responsibilities and commitments. It can become easy to slack on your oral hygiene routine. Here are a couple of tips for busy professionals.
Tip #1: Don’t skip flossing.
Get into the habit of flossing before you brush your teeth. Not only will this serve as a reminder to not skip this vital step in your routine, but this method has also been proven to remove more plaque from between your teeth than if you were to floss after you brush.
The bottom line: Floss your teeth. Studies show that only 31.6% of adults report flossing daily, and 31.9% say they never floss their teeth.
Tip #2: Add fruit and veggies to your lunch.
A nutritious diet rich in vitamins is a powerful tool in fighting against gum disease. Vitamin C is at the top of the list. There are so many quick and easy recipes that can give you a rich Vitamin C hit. And snack-ready foods high in vitamin C are in easy reach. Try citrus fruit, berries, sweet peppers, tomatoes, cantaloupe, kiwi, and raw broccoli, which are all great choices.
Tip #3: Don’t wait for pain to see your dentist.
Show up to every appointment and dental cleaning. Professional cleanings are necessary to keep plaque from building up. Your dentist will be able to detect the earliest signs of gum disease that you might miss, and will also be able to point out any areas you may be missing while brushing and flossing.
If your gum disease has progressed from gingivitis to the earliest stages of periodontitis, periodontal therapy can help turn it around and preserve as much of your healthy natural teeth as possible. If you’re looking for the best dental service in Dallas, Texas, reach out and book an appointment today!