The image shows a closeup of a woman's teeth and gums affected by periodontal disease. The intention is to show how to protect against periodontal disease.

How To Protect Against Periodontal Disease

Gum disease is common among patients in the US. However, not many people know that if left untreated, periodontitis can cause a variety of severe oral and general health issues. The good news is that it can also be prevented with proper at-home and professional periodontics care. Please read this article to learn how to protect against periodontal disease.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a bacterial infection that can affect the soft tissue around teeth and, in more severe cases, the jaw bone tissue and other organs in the body.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

The most common causes of periodontal disease include:

  • Accumulation of plaque on your teeth and gums. Plaque mainly consists of bacteria that interact with starches and sugars in your food, leading to more rapid and constant bacterial growth and infections in the mouth. 
  • If left untreated, plaque hardens and turns into tartar. Tartar can accumulate under the gum line and is very difficult to remove. Like plaque, it is filled with bacteria and can cause gum infections and tooth decay.
  • Accumulated plaque causes gingivitis, the initial form of gum disease. It manifests in swelling and irritation of gums at the base of the teeth. Gingivitis can be cured, but left untreated, it turns into more severe forms of gum disease.
  • Prolonged irritation and inflammation of the gums can cause pockets to form between the teeth and under the gum line. Over time, these pockets fill with plaque or tartar, which increases their size and leads to periodontitis.  

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

In some cases, periodontal disease can go without apparent symptoms for some time. Seeing your dentist on a regular basis will help you notice the symptoms early on and prevent the condition from worsening. However, for many patients, gum disease will present the following symptoms:

  • Swollen gums
  • Painful or tender to-touch gums
  • Red or purple gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Persistent bad breath that does not go away after brushing your teeth
  • Loose or mobile teeth
  • Pain when chewing food
  • A change in how your teeth fit together 
  • Pus inside your gums or between your teeth
  • Gums that recede from the teeth
  • New spaces that appear between your teeth

Please remember that healthy gums fit snugly around the teeth, from light pink to dark pink or brown, and firm. If you notice any of the symptoms of gum disease, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible because it can be treated at earlier stages, as untreated periodontitis can have severe consequences.

Consequences of Periodontal Disease

Gum disease is a severe issue that can lead to several oral and general health problems:

  • Untreated periodontitis can penetrate the jawbone tissue and lead to bone density loss.
  • Gum disease is a common cause of tooth mobility and tooth loss.
  • Infection caused by gum disease can get into the bloodstream and result in issues with multiple organs: the lungs, heart, gastrointestinal system, and even the brain. Periodontitis can also cause rheumatoid arthritis and coronary artery disease and negatively affect pregnancy.

How To Protect Against Periodontal Disease

The most effective way to prevent periodontal disease is to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Please follow these steps to keep your gums healthy:

  • Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day and floss every evening to remove food residue and bacteria from your teeth and prevent plaque buildup. 
  • Use a water flosser as an additional step in your daily routine to loosen the plaque between your teeth and to clean along the gum line and in spots that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush.
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride to make your teeth more robust and more resistant to bacteria and plaque buildup.
  • Floss and use a water flosser as the first step of your oral hygiene routine to enhance the effectiveness of your toothpaste.
  • Regularly remove buildup and bacteria from your tongue.
  • Visit your dentist every 6 to 12 months for checkups and professional cleanings. Even if you maintain excellent oral hygiene at home, some plaque can still accumulate between your teeth and can be effectively removed only by a professional. In addition, regular checkups will ensure that your dentist can spot potential issues before they become serious.

Make an Appointment Today

If you suspect that you might have periodontal disease, do not postpone making an appointment with a top periodontal dentist in Downtown Los Angeles. Our goal is to save your teeth and improve your oral health. We are looking forward to welcoming you to our office.