Many adults in the United States suffer from some degree of periodontal disease. Nevertheless, with the right care, your gums can stay healthy and disease-free.
Here is a bit of information about periodontal disease and how you can protect yourself from it.
How Does Periodontal Disease Occur?
Periodontal disease, which is commonly known as gum disease, occurs as the gums become increasingly inflamed. The inflammation is caused by bacterial acids. The harmful bacteria in the mouth release the acids as waste products when they digest simple sugars in the mouth.
The disease may initially present itself with minor symptoms, such as gingival swelling and red gums that bleed easily. However, over time, periodontal disease can progress, inciting the formation of pockets between the teeth and the gums. These pockets collect plaque and bacteria to worsen the condition. As the pockets grow larger, they extend well beneath the gum line and may invade the area around the jawbone. As a result, the jawbone may begin to disintegrate, causing the teeth to become loose or even dislodged. Additionally, the gingival tissues may recede from the teeth.
How Can You Prevent Gum Disease?
The main food source of the bacteria in the mouth is sugar. If simple carbohydrates are not cleared from the oral cavity after meals and snacks, the harmful microbes feed on the leftover particles and release inflammatory acids. In addition, the leftover bits of debris mix with the microorganisms and their biofilm to form sticky plaque that can coat the gums and cause them to remain in direct contact with the harmful acids.
To prevent gum disease, it is important to remove the plaque and leftover food from the teeth and gums regularly. Thus, you should brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day. Additionally, you should use string floss or an oral irrigator to help remove plaque from between the teeth and along the gum line.
Here are a few more measures that you can take:
- Swap sugar for sugar-free alternatives, such as stevia or xylitol. Sugar-free sweeteners typically do not serve as a food source for oral microbes, and consequently, do not promote tooth decay.
- Attend routine dental appointments. Your dentist is likely to offer routine examinations and cleanings every six months.
- Restrict your consumption of simple carbohydrates. Table sugar is not the only culprit in the development of tooth decay. Starchy foods, such as white bread and potatoes, are broken down into simple sugars by salivary enzymes.
For more information about the prevention of gum disease, schedule a consultation with a family dentistry clinic in your local area.