Good oral hygiene is essential for preventing gum disease, called periodontitis. Periodontitis is a bacterial infection of the gums and other tissues that support and surround the teeth. It is caused by the buildup of plaque on the teeth and gums. If left untreated, periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, and even create holes in the jawbone.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
Symptoms of periodontitis typically present as redness and swelling of the gums and the area around the teeth. Inflamed gums may also bleed easily when brushed. Other symptoms may include receding gums or pockets of pus and bad breath. Visiting a dentist for regular appointments, brushing and flossing to keep the teeth and gums clean, and treating any gum infections promptly can help prevent periodontitis.
Treating Gum Disease
Treating periodontitis begins with a thorough exam by a dentist. X-rays and a 3-D scan of the teeth and gums will be taken to assess the extent of the infection. Depending on the severity of the infection, treatment can include medication, root planing and scaling, laser therapy, or surgery.
Medication may include antibiotics or mouth rinses to kill bacteria. Root planing and scaling help to remove plaque and tartar from teeth and increase the amount of space between teeth and gums. Laser therapy, also known as phototherapy, uses a beam of light to remove plaque and bacteria from teeth and gums. Surgery may be necessary to treat bone loss or other complications.
Preventing Gum Disease
Good oral hygiene is key to preventing periodontitis. Brush and floss teeth twice a day, use mouthwash, and get regular cleanings and checkups from a dentist. A balanced diet with a variety of healthy foods rich in vitamins and minerals can also help. Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol use, both of which are associated with a higher risk of periodontal disease.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for keeping teeth and gums healthy and preventing periodontitis. Seeing a dentist as soon as any symptoms appear is also important, as early diagnosis and treatment greatly reduce the risk of further gum damage.