Preventing Gum Disease
Adults over the age of 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases than from cavities. Three out of four adults suffer from periodontitis some time in their life. The best way to prevent Periodontal Diseases is by high quality daily home care (tooth brushing and flossing techniques) and regular professional examinations and periodontal maintenance (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 its progress.
Important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Smoking (Tobacco/Cigarettes/Pipe/Marijuana/Vaping)
- Uncontrolled Diabetes
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
Periodontal Disease & Smoking
You are probably familiar with the links between tobacco use and lung disease, cancer, and heart disease.
Current studies have now linked periodontal disease with tobacco usage (Cigarettes and Pipes). These cases may be even more severe than those of non-users of tobacco. There is a greater incidence of calculus formation on teeth, deeper pockets between gums and teeth as well as greater loss of the bone and fibers that hold teeth in your mouth. In addition, your chance of developing oral cancer increases with the use of smokeless tobacco.
Chemicals in tobacco such as nicotine and tar slow down healing and the predictability of success following periodontal treatment.
Problems caused by tobacco include:
Lung disease, heart disease, cancer, mouth sores, gum recession, loss of bone and teeth, bad breath, tooth staining, less success with periodontal treatment, and with dental implants.
Quitting tobacco will reduce the chance of developing the above problems.
There is also evidence (albeit less robust) that has also linked the use of marijuana and vaping to periodontal disease.
Diabetes & Oral Health
Individuals suffering from diabetes, especially uncontrolled diabetics, have a higher risk of developing bacterial infections of the mouth. These infections may impair your ability to process insulin, resulting in greater difficulty with controlling your diabetes. Periodontal diseases will be more severe than those of a non-diabetic and treatment more difficult.
Steps to prevent periodontal disease include daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque from your teeth and gums, regular dental visits for professional maintenance, and regular periodontal evaluation. Your health professional must also be told of your history and the current status of your condition. And finally, you can help resist periodontal infection by maintaining control of your blood sugar levels.
During puberty, there is increased production of sex hormones. These higher levels increase gum sensitivity and lead to greater irritations from plaque and food particles. The gums can become swollen, turn red, and feel tender.
Your gums and teeth are also affected during pregnancy. Between the second and eighth month, your gums may also swell, bleed, and become red or tender. Large lumps may appear as a reaction to local irritants. However, these growths are generally painless and not cancerous. They may require professional removal, but usually disappear after pregnancy.
Periodontal health should be part of your prenatal care. Any infections during pregnancy, including periodontal infections, can place a baby’s health at risk.
The best way to prevent periodontal infections is to begin with healthy gums and continue to maintain your oral health with proper home care and careful monitoring. Periodontal maintenance has shown to be safe for both the mother and baby during pregnancy.
Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health. Please disclose a complete list of your medications to your periodontist during your first visit. Also, please notify us of any changes to your medication at each visit. This will allow us to identify any potential medication risk factors in treating your gum disease.