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Periodontal Care

Periodontal care is necessary to maintain healthy and strong gums and jaw, which are vital in holding your teeth in place. Periodontal treatment is needed when your gums and jaw are affected by disease. Proper periodontal care is a basic principal of keeping healthy teeth.

Every person wants a healthy looking smile, and gums can greatly enhance the appearance of your teeth. Unhealthy gums that recede or are swollen and red are not desirable.

In later stages of poor periodontal condition, the bone of the jaw area weakens, and teeth can shift, loosen, and fall out. This makes chewing and speaking difficult, and of course, does not look pleasing.

About Periodontal Disease

Periodontal diseases include infections in the gums that wear the gums out, which damages this natural support for teeth. One of the most common causes of gum disease is plaque, something most are familiar with. In genetically-susceptible people and those that lack oral hygiene, periodontal disease due to plaque is more common. Certain conditions like diabetes and smoking can increase risk of gum disease. Plaque is dangerous, as it contains bacteria that produce toxins that irritate the gums. This leads to redness, swelling, and bleeding. If not treated, sustained irritation will lead to further gum problems, including the formation of pockets around teeth, as well as the separation of teeth. Plaque can also turn into tartar above and below the gum line.

If left to progress, periodontal diseases will lead to gum deterioration, leading to tooth loos if untreated.

It is important to know that redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums is not always present in periodontal disease. Pain is also not always associated with periodontal disease as well. It is possible to have periodontal disease unknowingly, as 80 percent of Americans will have some level of periodontal disease by the age of 45.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

75% of adults are affected by tooth loss at some point in the life, more often from gum disease than from cavities. Itís important to brush and floss teeth daily and go to regular examinations and cleanings to keep healthy teeth and gums, and to prevent any progression of existing periodontal disease. Things that impact gum health include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • Tooth grinding
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition
  • Natural processes

Tobacco: Tobacco is obviously harmful to overall health and can cause lung disease, cancer, and heart disease. However, it can also be responsible for periodontal disease. Studies have shown that tobacco users have gums in worse condition, respond less effectively to treatment, and are more likely to have long term or reoccurring problems, despite treatment. Tobacco can also lead to a greater possibility of tartar formation, pockets between gums and teeth, as well as loss of bone and fiber matter that hold teeth in place. Smoking also reduces the blood supply to the gums, which has a number of negative effects, including reduced bleeding, which can mask the diseaseís progression. Chemicals in tobacco slow down healing and success of periodontal treatment. Chewing tobacco can also lead to oral cancer, which will obviously negatively impact gum health.

Oral Hygiene

Thorough teeth cleaning is vital to good oral hygiene and health. Soft bristles are recommended for tooth brushing. Itís important to equally brush the front, top, and back of teeth. Brush strokes should be circular in the front, vertical for the back, and short for the top. Rinsing vigorously helps remove any loose plaque. Questions or concerns about brushing should be directed to your oral hygienist.

Flossing is often overlooked, though the lack of flossing can easily lead to periodontal disease. Flossing removes plaque from areas tooth brushing cannot reach, so practice is necessary. Waxed floss is best, about the length of your forearm. Wrap the floss comfortable around a finger on either hand. The floss is to be inserted tightly between teeth, using a back and forth motion to clean. At the gum, it should be held in a C shape to the tooth as to not irritate the gum. Try not to force the floss into the gum or to snap into in between your teeth. As the floss is used, continue to use a cleaner bit by rewrapping it around your fingers.

When done, rinse again to remove loose plaque and food. It is normal if the gums are sore or bleed lightly at the beginning of regular flossing, but try not to be too forceful. Teeth can often become sensitive to temperatures due to acid from plaque. Regular cleaning should aid this, but some people require special pastes or rinses for especially sensitive teeth. Keep in mind that tartar control or whitening pastes can increase sensitivity in certain cases. Flouride pastes are recommended.

Even with regular cleaning, it is important to get regular checkups and cleanings to maintain healthy teeth to the best extent.

Oral Pathology

The inside of your mouth is lined with mucosa, skin that is smooth and light pink. Change in its appearance can be a sign of an unwanted pathological process, the most serious of which is oral cancer. Keep an eye out for:

  • Red or white patches (leukoplakia) in the inside of the mouth
  • Long lasting or bleed prone sore
  • Lump or thickening of the mucosa
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Reoccurring ulcers or blisters

These can be seen on the lips, cheeks, palate, gum, tongue, and face or neck as well. Pain will not always be present, though if it is, the risk of oral cancer exists. Self check monthly for changes in the appearance of your mouth.

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