Preventing Periodontal Disease
Adults over the age of 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases than from cavities and three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and Periodontal Diseases is by daily thorough brushing and flossing and 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 its progress.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Tobacco usage
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
Periodontal Disease & Tobacco
You are probably familiar with the links between tobacco use and lung disease, cancer, and heart disease, but studies have also linked periodontal disease with tobacco usage. 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. Chemicals in tobacco such as nicotine and tar slow down healing and the predictability of success following periodontal treatment and implant therapy. In addition, your chance of developing oral cancer increases with the use of tobacco.
Diabetes & Oral Health
Individuals who have uncontrolled diabetes have a higher risk of developing bacterial infections of the mouth. Also, periodontal infections may impair your ability to process insulin, resulting in greater difficulty with controlling your diabetes. Periodontal disease in patients with diabetes may be more severe than those without diabetes and can cause the treatment of both diseases to become more difficult to control.
Women & Periodontal Health
Throughout a woman’s life, hormonal changes affect tissue throughout the body. Fluctuations in levels occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. At these times, the chance of periodontal disease may increase, requiring special care of your oral health.
During puberty, there is increased production of 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.
Similar symptoms occasionally appear several days before menstruation. There can be bleeding of the gums, bright red swelling between the teeth and gum, or sores on the inside of the cheek. The symptoms clear up once the period has started. As the amount of hormones decrease, so do these problems.
Teeth and gums are also affected during pregnancy. Between the second and eighth month, 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 prenatal care. Any infections during pregnancy, including periodontal infections, can place a baby’s health at risk. The best way to prevent periodontic infections is to begin with healthy gums and continue to maintain your oral health with proper home care and careful periodontic monitoring.
Swelling, bleeding, and tenderness of the gums may also occur when taking oral contraceptives, which are synthetic hormones.