When you think about a healthy mouth, what comes to mind? Most people think about the condition of the teeth, and the importance of brushing and flossing. While the health of your teeth is a critical component to complete oral health, it is not the only factor.
The health of your gums is also important. Your gums perform several important functions. They sit snugly against your teeth, providing a protective barrier against bacterial invasion. They help to keep your teeth in their proper alignment. Your gums are also an important part of a beautiful smile. Taking care of your mouth is essential for protecting your periodontal health. Timothy H. Kindt, DDS can help.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also often referred to as periodontal disease, is a serious, and progressive, oral health issue. When it first sets in, it is almost impossible to detect, but it can quickly lead to the destruction of your gums, your teeth, and your jawbone.
Gum disease starts when oral bacteria irritate your gums. When this happens, the tissue becomes inflamed. Inflammation causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria falls below the gum line, and continues to attack the gums while also attacking the periodontal ligaments and jawbone. Pockets grow deeper, your gums recede, your teeth become loose, and they may even fall out. It is also possible for bacteria to enter your bloodstream, which can lead to serious health complications like heart disease and diabetes.
How is Gum Disease Treated?
Treating gum disease is essential for restoring the health of your mouth. Without it, your condition only continues to worsen. There are a variety of treatments available for gum disease. The treatment we provide for you will depend upon the severity of your specific condition. Scaling and root planing is used to remove all buildup from the surfaces of the teeth (with special attention around the gum line) as well as smooth the roots of the teeth. This treatment is often done in the early stages of gum disease. If the disease has progressed, more invasive treatments may be needed. These treatments may include pocket reduction surgery, gum flap surgery, soft tissue grafts, or even bone grafts.
Gum Disease Prevention
In order to protect your periodontal health (as well as the health of your teeth and your jawbone), it is important to take care of your mouth. Periodontal care consists of a few different steps. Periodontal care starts at home. It is important that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. When you brush, you should do so for at least two minutes, and use a soft bristled brush. When flossing, special care should be taken not to force the floss or snap it against your gums.
You should avoid certain lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking. Both of these habits greatly increase your risk for developing gum disease. They also increase your risk of developing oral cancer.
Eat a healthy, well balanced diet. A healthy diet is essential for your whole-body health. You should be sure to include dark leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, legumes and more so that you are getting all essential vitamins and minerals. Many of the nutrients found in these foods are also important for preventing inflammation, therefore reducing the risk of gum disease.
Finally, along with your home care routine, it is important to have regular cleanings and exams at least twice a year. During these visits, your teeth are thoroughly cleaned, and your mouth is inspected for signs of trouble. These visits enable issues to be spotted in the early stages, which makes the treatment both easier and less invasive.
Taking proper steps to care for your teeth and gums is essential for maintaining a healthy mouth. If you have any questions or concerns about periodontal health, contact Timothy H. Kindt, DDS at (480) 939-5818 today.