Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. There are numerous disease entities requiring different treatment approaches. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).
PERIODONTAL MAINTENANCE refers to the group of services recommended for a patient who has been diagnosed with periodontal disease. Instead of seeing this patient every 6 months for a prophylaxis, a periodontal maintenance visit is typically every 3 or 4 months depending on the severity of the disease. During these visits, periodontal probing (measurements of the spaces between the tooth and bone) is completed and charted, along with selective scaling and debridement (removal of plaque and tartar) from above and below the gumline of affected teeth. A periodontal maintenance interval is created following a periodontal surgical procedure or a scaling and root planing procedure, both of which are designed to remove to local irritating factors and their toxins. Research has shown that heredity plays a major role in the presence of periodontal disease as well. It is not uncommon for a patient with periodontal disease to mention that one or both of their parents lost their teeth from the disease.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress. Non- treatment or under treatment of periodontal disease results in the loss of bone, which stabilizes the dentition, followed by mobility and soreness of the teeth, which then leads to tooth loss.
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