WHEN TO SEE A PERIODONTIST?
Anytime is a good time to see our office for a proper evaluation.
Often, the only way to detect periodontal disease is through a comprehensive periodontal examination. A periodontal evaluation may be especially important if:
You notice any symptoms of periodontal disease.
You are not satisfied with your current tooth replacement option, such as a bridge or dentures, and may be interested in dental implants.
You are thinking of becoming pregnant. Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby born too early and too small. In addition, about half of women experience “pregnancy gingivitis.” However, women who have good oral hygiene and have no gingivitis before pregnancy are very unlikely to experience this condition.
You feel that your teeth are too short or that your smile is too “gummy.” Or, if you are missing one or more of your teeth and are interested in a long-lasting replacement option.
You have a family member with periodontal disease. Research suggests that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can pass through saliva. This means the common contact of saliva in families puts children and couples at risk for contracting the periodontal disease of another family member.
You have heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease or osteoporosis. Ongoing research is showing that periodontal disease may be linked to these conditions. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can travel into the blood stream and pose a threat to other parts of the body. Healthy gums may lead to a healthier body.
NUTRITION AND YOUR GUMS
All dentists believe that people can prevent two of the most common diseases today – tooth decay and periodontal disease – simply by improving their diet.
Decay results when the hard tissues are destroyed by acid products from bacteria. Although poor nutrition does not directly cause periodontal disease, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and is more severe in patients whose diet does not supply the necessary nutrients. Poor nutrition can suppress your entire immune system, increasing your vulnerability to many disorders. People with lowered immune systems have been shown to be at higher risk for periodontal disease.
Eat a well-balanced diet; use moderation and choose a variety of foods. The important foods to choose include those from the four basic food groups: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, meat, chicken, fish or beans. And remember that so-called “fad diets” often restrict or eliminate entire food groups. Leading to serious vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Eating foods with antioxidant properties,-for example, those containing vitamin E or vitamin C (vitamin E-containing foods include vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables; vitamin C-containing foods include citrus fruits, broccoli, potatoes) can help your body repair damaged tissue. Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth. These actions may put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could increase the rate at which these tissues are destroyed.
When snacking, try to avoid soft, sweet, sticky foods, such as cakes, candy and dried fruits. Better choices include nuts, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese and sugarless gum or candy.
When you eat foods such as crackers, cookies and chips, include them as part of your meal, instead of by themselves. Believe it or not, some combinations of foods can actually neutralize harmful acids in the mouth and inhibit tooth decay.
Brushing is the most effective method for removing harmful plaque from your teeth and gums. Getting the debris off your teeth and gums in a timely manner prevents bacteria in the food you eat from turning into harmful, cavity-causing acids.
Most dentists agree that brushing three times a day is the minimum; if you use a fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bed at night, you can get away without using toothpaste during the middle of the day. A simple brushing with plain water or rinsing your mouth with water for 30 seconds after lunch with generally do the job.
GENERAL PREVENTION TIPS
Gingivitis can be reversed in nearly all cases when proper plaque control is practiced. Proper plaque control consists of professional cleanings at least twice a year and daily brushing and flossing. Brushing eliminates plaque from the surfaces of the teeth that can be reached; flossing removes food particles and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gum line.
Highly concentrated fluoride gels, mouth rinses, or dietary supplements are another source of this important substance. In addition, anti-cavity varnish, or sealants (which are thin, plastic coatings) also provide an additional barrier against harmful bacteria and other foreign matter.
Regular dental visits are also important. Daily cleaning will help keep calculus formation to a minimum, but it won’t completely prevent it. A professional cleaning at least twice a year, but often three to four times is necessary to remove tooth accumulations and keep gum tissue healthy.
Other health and lifestyle changes that will decrease the risk, the severity, and the speed of gum disease development include:
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is one of the best defenses against oral cancer. Maintaining good oral hygiene, and regular dental checkups, are highly recommended.