Looking after teeth seems like a rather simple task. Brush twice a day, floss regularly and rinse occasionally. But what about your gums? Your gums play such a big part in your overall oral health and can affect the health of your teeth.
What is Periodontitis?
In its early stage periodontitis is referred to as gingivitis. Gingivitis can usually be treated with a good oral hygiene plan and some simple lifestyle changes. However if left untreated the build up of bacteria can lead to the more serious form of periodontitis. The buildup of bacteria attacks the gum tissue causing it to recede and pull away from the teeth. Ultimately eroding the bone and causing teeth to fall out.
How do you prevent it?
The best way to reduce your chances is to have a great oral hygiene routine in place. You should see your dentist twice a year, floss regularly, use mouthwash and brush your teeth twice a day. While you can’t change risk factors like genetics and certain illnesses or the risks form certain medications, you can make other lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of gum disease. You can limit the sugars in your diet, and stay away from tobacco. Tobacco makes it harder for the gums to heal naturally.
What is periodontal therapy?
Periodontal therapy is a term used to cover an array of treatments that may be needed. To restore health to your teeth and gums.
Scaling and root planing
Local anesthetic is used to numb the gums while this initial treatment removes plaque from and below the gum line. A check up is required after six weeks and if all clear just a routine maintenance every 3-4 months.
A simple procedure that allows access to your teeth below the gum line in order to clean them better. It involves making small incisions at the gum line allowing the separation of the gum from the tooth, creating a “flap” of tissue. Once the gums are opened, the roots of the teeth and the bone loss created by the periodontal infection can be seen. All plaque and calculus deposits are removed and the gums are then closed back together with stitches. If you have suffered irreversible damage to your teeth, you may also need dental implants.
What to look out for
It can be hard to spot periodontitis, which is why it’s so important to go for regular check ups. Bleeding gums, bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth can all be signs that there may be a developing problem. Red or swollen gums and bleeding when brushing are also things to look out for.
Having a good oral routine is so important to help prevent periodontitis. But it’s still such a common issue. Recognizing problems early on is key in preventing the need for surgery. Flossing and taking care of your gums, not just the appearance of your teeth, will mean a healthier mouth and stunning smile for years to come.