The word periodontal means "surrounding the gums." Hence, periodontal care refers to the care of the structures around the teeth, which are the gums and the bone. Adequate periodontal care is important since it determines the health of the tooth or teeth implicated and the overall health of the mouth. Essential periodontal care is done both individually at home and by our dental professionals during appointments.
At Peninsula Family Dental Center, we provide periodontal care services to all age groups. Preventive periodontal care reduces the chances of developing non-oral diseases, such as heart disease.
The mildest form of periodontal disease is gingivitis, which is an infection of the gums usually caused by poor oral hygiene. A film of food particles, saliva, and bacteria known as dental plaque forms around the teeth. Upon hardening, it forms tartar. The bacteria in tartar causes damage to the teeth, gums, surrounding soft tissue, and bone. Its initial onset is usually mild and painless, and by the time pain becomes a symptom, the disease has usually progressed extensively.
In full-blown periodontal disease, pockets that hold plaque, tartar, and bacteria form. The pockets continue to grow deeper, filling with more plaque, tartar, and bacteria if left untreated. The deeper the pocket, the more severe the disease. It can also lead to further complications, including tooth and bone loss.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include gums that bleed easily during and after brushing or/and flossing, swelling and tender gums, receding gums, pus, a loose tooth or teeth, a toothache, plaque or tartar buildup on the teeth, bad breath, change in the fit of partial dentures, and change in how teeth meet while biting.
Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease
There are several risk factors associated with periodontal disease. These risk factors include gingivitis, age, obesity, poor nutrition, poor oral hygiene, smoking, genetics, certain medications, stress, significant hormonal changes like pregnancy and menopause, conditions of reduced immunity like HIV/AIDS, cancer treatment, multiple myeloma, and leukemia. Systemic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus and rheumatoid arthritis, also increase one’s risk of developing periodontal disease.
Prevention of Periodontal Disease
Maintaining good oral habits is needed to prevent periodontitis. It is essential to brush after every meal, floss at least once a day, and swish your mouth using a mouthwash to remove plaque that is left behind after brushing and flossing. If possible, reduce and eliminate modifiable risk factors, like smoking, stress, and poor nutrition. Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth since this puts force on the supporting tissues of the teeth, which may already be weakened. Another important factor in preventing periodontal disease is to take frequent trips to your dental office for dental checkups. A periodontal probe is used by our dental professional to determine the size of the pockets around the teeth. This allows him or her to monitor the pockets around your teeth. Know if you are at a high risk of developing periodontal disease and inform our dental professional of any current medical conditions that you are being treated for.
Periodontal disease can be prevented by both consistent self-oral care and routine professional care carried out by our dental professional. Regular dental cleanings are important to remove tartar build-up. For regular professional periodontal care services, call (907) 283-9125 to schedule your appointment at Peninsula Family Dental Center.