Mish Sachdev

How To Prevent Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a serious gum infection which can harm gum and bone tissue and if left untreated, can lead to bone loss. The primary cause of the disease is a failure to eradicate plaque from teeth, which leads to the plaque hardening and creating tartar. Without professional dental cleaning to eradicate this plaque, the gums may become inflamed and periodontal disease can set in.

Prevention of periodontal disease always begins with impeccable oral hygiene. This involves brushing at least two times a day for a minimum of two minutes each time. The ideal times for this are when you wake up and go to sleep. Flossing daily is also key to eradicating particles from in between teeth and reducing the potential for bacteria to build up between teeth.

However good oral hygiene by itself is not enough to prevent the disease completely. Regular dental visits are also vital, ideally every 6-12 months, in which cleaning can take place to eradicate tartar build up. These sessions may need to be more regular if you possess any of the periodontal disease risk factors such as:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Genetics
  • Diabetes
  • Hormone changes (which can occur during pregnancy, menopause, and menstruation)
  • Immuno-compromising conditions (this includes HIV/AIDS and cancer)
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • Saliva-related medications

Signs of periodontal disease

  • Key signs of periodontal disease include:
  • Inflammation of gums
  • Redness of gums
  • Bleeding in gums
  • Looseness of teeth
  • Discomfort when chewing
  • Gaps developing between gums

How is periodontal disease treated?

While good oral hygiene and dental cleanings is usually enough to treat periodontal disease in some scenarios additional steps may be required. The first step would be to prescribe antibiotics, which can help in scenarios where periodontal disease is persistent despite regular cleanings. Additionally, there should be frequent follow up appointments to check the development of the antibiotic treatment. If antibiotics are not adequate in dealing with the problem, then the dentist may recommend surgery.

A commonly used surgery to deal with periodontal disease is ‘flap surgery’ in which the patient’s gums are numbed and the gums are raised for a comprehensive cleaning of the roots of the teeth. The gums are then gently stitched together. This may cause some initial discomfort for a few days but should fully heal in a couple of weeks. In most cases, this should deal with the disease, and assuming frequent dental cleaning and good oral hygiene the disease should become stable.