words Al Woods
As part of the digestive system, the teeth, the tongue, and gums play a crucial role as far as our overall nutrition and overall health is concerned. This is why health professionals put emphasis on taking good care of your oral health. But due to various factors, one may suffer from various oral diseases, periodontal disease being one of them.
Now, for starters, periodontal disease is also commonly known as gum disease, in which the gums get infected by plaque-forming bacteria, leading to inflammation. Eventually, the gums become too feeble to firmly support the teeth. Maziar Shabestari. Ph.D., a Periodontist in Fagerstrand says that if gum disease is not treated early, it could easily lead to gum recession and cause deterioration of the bone structure supporting the teeth. This makes it important to visit your dentist regularly for checkups so this and any other oral health issue can be detected and treated early to avoid complications. It’s also important to understand the various causes of the disease and how you can stay safe from gum disease.
On this note, this piece briefly explores the various causes of periodontal disease and how to prevent it.
Causes and risk factors
Protecting yourself from gum disease starts with understanding the various causes. Now, like most parts of the body, the mouth contains somewhere between 500-1000 species of bacteria. While these bacteria have various functions important to the body, their by-products along with oral mucus, and food particles can combine to form a plaque, which could easily form tartar. Also, oral bacteria can multiply really fast and when this happens, the gum may at some point succumb to the pressure and get infected.
Since the process of infection and plaque formation can be avoided by properly cleaning the teeth and gums, poor oral hygiene is often a common cause of gum disease. Studies have also shown that some people are often at a greater risk of suffering from gum disease due to factors such as age, lifestyle habits, nutrition, and genetics. Also, people with diabetes, hormonal issues, and a family history of gum disease can be at a greater risk of getting it.
Common Symptoms and Diagnosis
Some of the most common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Loosened teeth
- Swollen or reddened gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Gum bleeding and tenderness
- Pain while chewing
- Tooth sensitivity
- Receding gums
When you get a dental appointment, the dentist or periodontist will usually start by examining the gums for any of these symptoms and signs of gum inflammation. They’ll also check if you have any of the mentioned risk factors and perform further tests such as dental x-rays to see the extent of your condition.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
Now that we know the various causes, preventing gum disease is easier. Basically, it’s about being keener on improving your oral hygiene and determining if you face a higher risk of getting the disease. Some things you can do to prevent periodontal disease include:
- Brushing your teeth – Do it after meals or at least two times a day, one of these after you wake up. Ensure you clean the gums, the tongue, and the sides of your mouth as well.
- Floss regularly – If you can’t floss regularly, ensure you do it at least once a day to remove debris that could be lodged in between your teeth, which is often hard to reach using a toothbrush. You can use a floss string, a water flosser, or a plastic pick.
- Swish with mouthwash – This removes debris that flossing and tooth brushing may have left behind.
Finally, it’s advisable to see a periodontist at least once annually and understand your risk. Quit smoking if you do, observe a proper diet, and keep your overall health in check. With the above few pointers, you have enough to become a better caretaker of your dental health and keep periodontal disease at bay.