Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums, which gradually destroys the support of your natural teeth. Although there are numerous causes of periodontal disease, dental plaque is the primary contributor of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film which sticks to your teeth. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
Bacteria found in plaque produces acids that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets to form. As periodontal disease progresses, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated this can lead to tooth loss.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent it from progressing.