6 Helpful Tips That Can Help You Prevent Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss.
Suffice it to say, if you want to save your teeth, preventing gum disease is an important goal. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to not only reverse or arrest gum disease but also to prevent it altogether.
With the following tips from your Torrance dentist, you can have healthy teeth and gums that can last a lifetime!
Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis – What’s the Difference?
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. Periodontitis is gum disease that has progressed beyond this stage. If you’re diagnosed with periodontitis, it’s important to treat the condition because it cannot be reversed. It can only be arrested (stopping it from progressing even further).
There are four stages of periodontitis:
- Stage I: Initial
- Stage II: Moderate
- Stage III: Advanced with potential for some tooth loss
- Stage IV: Severe with potential for the loss of all teeth
Symptoms of Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis
Symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Bleeding gums (particularly when brushing or flossing)
- Bad breath
- Puffy, red gums
- Sore gums (chronic)
- Tooth pain/sensitivity
Signs of periodontitis include the same symptoms as gingivitis, except worse (heavier bleeding, more pain). Some additional symptoms include:
- A bad taste that doesn’t go away
- Loose teeth
- Gum recession
- Bite (occlusion) changes
Can You Reverse Gingivitis?
Thankfully, yes! If your Torrance dentist catches the disease in its earliest stage – gingivitis – they can help you take steps to not just stop the progression of the disease but to reverse it. That means you can return to 100% healthy gums.
To accomplish this, you’ll need to make sure you visit your dentist for regular cleanings and practice any home care tips they recommend.
How Can I Avoid Periodontal Disease Before It Starts? 6 Easy Tips
What about preventing periodontal disease in the first place? Yes, that is possible, too. Here are a few tips that can help keep your gum tissue healthy.
1. Brush Your Teeth at Least Twice a Day
Bacteria live in plaque. As plaque builds up, bacteria flourish – and they cause a lot of damage. You can reduce the damage by brushing your teeth at least twice daily.
Ideally, you’d brush after every meal and snack, though we know that’s not always practical. However, the more plaque you can remove throughout the day, the better chance you have of staving off gum disease.
2. Invest in an Electric Toothbrush
An electric toothbrush superpowers your brushing capabilities. Electric toothbrushes rotate at a high speed, thereby removing more decay than you could by brushing manually for the same amount of time. Every time you brush, your teeth will feel so smooth and clean – just like they do when you leave your Torrance dentist after a professional cleaning.
3. Floss Once a Day
Whether you have excellent manual brushing technique or a great electric toothbrush, there are still some surfaces of your teeth that only floss can reach. Specifically, between the teeth and below the gumline.
Using the C-shaped flossing technique, you can slide below the gumline to the base of the periodontal pocket and remove the plaque.
Failing to do this each day can result in the build-up of plaque and eventual calcification (calcified plaque is called tartar or calculus). In this stage, it is impossible to remove with floss or a toothbrush. Only professional dental instruments can remove it. And while the plaque is building up, it’s continually irritating the gum tissue, inflaming the gums, turning them red and puffy.
4. Use Dental Tools Like Rubber Tips, Sulcabrushes, or Interdental Cleaner
Other dental tools can help if you have anatomical issues that make it difficult to clean thoroughly with brushing and flossing alone. Interdental cleaners can clean plaque and food debris from gaps in between the teeth or areas where food gets caught because of crooked or crowded teeth.
Sulcabrushes are single-tuft brushes that help remove plaque around the gum line, removing plaque your toothbrush might have missed.
Rubber tips – also called gum stimulators – massage the gum tissue. The tip is used around the gum line, in between the tooth and gum, to remove plaque and stimulate healthy blood flow through the gums.
Regular use of these tools in conjunction with your toothbrush and floss can help promote pink, healthy gums and reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.
5. Visit Your Torrance Dentist Twice a Year
You may be so dedicated to your oral health that you have impeccable flossing technique and brush after every meal. Still, plaque can build up, particularly in hard-to-reach places (like the back of your molars).
Your Torrance dentist and hygienist can remove the plaque and any tartar build-up that has occurred over the previous six months.
They’ll help make sure your gums are in great shape, but they’ll also analyze your periodontal pockets and the appearance of your gum tissue. If they notice any abnormalities or indicators that might be a sign of gum disease, they’ll be able to take action sooner rather than later. The sooner you act (which may include receiving periodontal disease treatment), the better chance you have of saving your teeth.
6. Stop or Avoid Using Tobacco Products
Smoking weakens your immune system, which plays a vital role in helping keep bacterial infections at bay – including periodontal infections.
If you smoke or chew, your immune defenses go down and the bacteria in the plaque around your teeth and below the gumline can wreak havoc. The bacteria can cause an infection that damages the periodontal ligaments (the joints that connect the root of your teeth to your jawbone). The result is loose teeth, bone loss, and even tooth loss.
Your Torrance dentist understands that quitting smoking is difficult. They welcome you to talk to them about your goals and are happy to supply information about agencies/services/tools that can help you quit.
Preventing Periodontal Disease: How a Torrance Dentist Can Help
Your dentist can be a huge help when it comes to the prevention of gum disease. With regular visits (twice a year if you have zero history of periodontitis), they will ensure that you have healthy gum pocket depths, as well as strong, healthy, pink gum tissue.
If your Torrance dentist notices any issues that might indicate early stages of gum disease (increased periodontal pocket depths, bleeding gums, red vs. pink gum tissue), they can help.
By putting into practice the dental homecare tips they recommend, as well as any treatment options they suggest, you can ward off gum disease for good.
Worried you might have periodontal disease? Contact our team to schedule a comprehensive periodontal evaluation today!