Periodontal disease, also known more commonly as gum disease, affects approximately 80% of all American adults to some degree and is considered the most common disease in the country. Thankfully, however, there are ways that individuals can avoid the onset of gum disease or any worsening of the condition once it has occurred. The key is to know how to provide yourself with proper periodontal care so that you don’t become a victim to more advanced stages of this disease.
At the outset, periodontal disease has virtually no symptoms. As the condition progresses, you may notice signs, such as bleeding gums when brushing, sensitivity, swelling, bad breath and pain. Left to advance, gum disease can eventually result in the shifting or loss of teeth and deterioration of bone in the jaw. Gum disease has also been linked to other medical conditions, such as heart disease.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to try to prevent or halt the disease. One of the most important steps you can take is to adhere to a stringent routine of good oral hygiene daily. That basically entails brushing your teeth at least twice per day and flossing regularly as well. While many people are in the routine of brushing their teeth upon waking and before retiring for the night, a large percentage of people still neglect to floss. Skipping this crucial step can leave a large portion of your teeth and gums susceptible to a build- up of tartar, plaque and bacteria.
Another important step in proper periodontal care is visiting the dentist regularly. Most dentists recommend that adults schedule appointments twice a year (every six months). During these visits, your teeth will be professionally cleaned by the dentist or a dental hygienist and your dentist will also be able to check for any early signs of periodontal disease. With early diagnosis, you can take steps to prevent advancement of the condition.
If your dentist notices that your gums are showing signs of early gum disease, he or she will likely recommend additional steps you can take to take better care of your teeth and gums. If the dentist feels it is warranted, it may also be recommended that you increase the frequency with which you visit the dentist for preventative care appointments. This will provide additional professional cleanings and will give the dentist a chance to better monitor any advancements in your condition.
It isn’t until gum disease has reached more advanced stages that most people notice symptoms or are bothered by the condition. At this point, you may notice that your gums bleed easily when brushing and you may also find that you have chronic bad breath despite taking precautions to prevent the odor. Gums may start to recede and as they do, you may notice teeth feeling more sensitive since areas of the tooth that were previously protected by gum tissue are now exposed. At this point, your gums may require treatment that goes beyond routine oral care.
Regular trips to the dentist, combined with good daily oral hygiene, is the best way to prevent the onset of periodontal disease or to avoid its progression once it has begun.
For more information about proper periodontal care, contact Gentle Dental in Queens at 718-461-0100.