Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a serious dental health issue, but it is preventable. Here, we’ll explain what periodontal disease is, what causes it, and how you can prevent it. Highland Oaks Family Dentistry in Keller, TX offers a full suite of services to treat gum disease at every stage.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is gum disease that is brought on by plaque buildup in your mouth. Plaque is that sticky, clear film you feel on your teeth when it has been awhile since brushing. Noticeable symptoms include bleeding gums, red or swollen gums, receding gums, loose teeth, changes in bite, and persistent bad breath. Periodontal disease is closely associated with gingivitis (gum inflammation). If gingivitis is not treated, then the inflammation turns into periodontal disease. Here the gums pull away from the teeth to form pockets where bacteria and debris build up. When the pockets become infected, the plaque spreads further along and under the gums. If left untreated, periodontal disease can progress to the point where the gum tissue and bone are destroyed so that the teeth are no longer supported and eventually fall out.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
There are a number of things that cause periodontal disease, but the primary cause by far is plaque buildup. This happens when the plaque is not removed through daily brushing and flossing. There are some other reasons why you may develop periodontal disease, however. Your genetics can play a role since about 30% of people are genetically more susceptible to getting periodontal disease. Smokers and tobacco users are also at a higher risk. Further, if you have overcrowded or misaligned teeth it’s harder to keep your teeth clean which often leads to more plaque buildup. Other causes of periodontal disease include grinding teeth, stress, dry mouth, fluctuating hormones, poor nutrition, and some diseases such as IBS, HIV, and leukemia.
How Can You Prevent Periodontal Disease?
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by maintaining good oral health through daily dental habits. This means you should be brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time with a fluoride toothpaste. Floss at least once a day, preferably before bed. A healthy diet low in sugars and carbs and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals also reduces plaque. Another great way to prevent periodontal disease is by coming in for regular checkups and cleanings! Give us a call to schedule your next appointment.