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What to Know About Periodontal Disease

If your dentist mentioned you may have periodontal disease, you probably have some questions. Learning more about this common oral health issue, more commonly called gum disease, can help you take steps to treat it. Here’s what you should know about living with periodontal disease.

Understanding the Condition

Periodontal diseases are infections caused by plaque buildup around your teeth. Plaque hardens into tartar that irritates the gums, causing inflammation and bleeding. With moderate to severe gum disease, plaque spreads deeper below the gumline, destroying the tissue and bone that hold teeth in place. Eventually, this can lead to tooth loss if not treated. According to the World Health Organization, oral diseases affect around 3.5 billion people worldwide. If your dentist has diagnosed you with periodontal disease, you’re far from alone. The good news is, it’s preventable and treatable if caught early.

Signs to Look For

Be on the lookout for common symptoms like red, swollen, or tender gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing. You may notice receding gums exposing more of the tooth surface. Persistent bad breath can also indicate periodontal disease. If you observe any signs of infection, make an appointment at your dentist office for an exam.

Caring for Your Oral Health

Your dentist will advise you on proper cleaning techniques to control plaque buildup at home. This may include using special antibacterial mouthwashes or toothpastes recommended for gum disease. Electric toothbrushes can help remove plaque from beneath the gumline. Flossing once or twice daily is also essential. Your dentist office may recommend professional teeth cleanings more often than usual, such as every three months. Scaling and root planing can remove hardened tartar from teeth and smooth damaged root surfaces. In advanced cases, gum surgery may be required to stop disease progression. Living with gum disease takes diligence, but preventing further bone and tooth loss is worth the extra oral hygiene efforts. Be sure to follow your dentist’s specialized home care instructions.

Lifestyle Changes to Consider

Certain lifestyle adjustments may improve periodontal health too. For example, quitting smoking prevents additional gum damage from tobacco use. Reducing stress through relaxation techniques can diminish inflammation. Sticking to a balanced diet with nutrients that are important for oral health can aid healing.

Periodontal disease is common, but it is manageable with professional treatment and daily prevention. Working closely with your dentist office on an ongoing basis is key to keeping symptoms in check. Don’t ignore your gum health — a proactive approach will help you maintain your natural teeth as long as possible. Contact Mountain View Dentistry to schedule an appointment today if you think you may be living with gum disease.