It is important to brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day and floss between them at least once per day. Practicing these healthy habits will help to prevent plaque build-up and gingival inflammation. An estimated 80% of Americans have some form of gum disease! Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting your teeth. Healthy gums are pink and firm with little bleeding upon brushing and flossing. Early gum disease, known as gingivitis, causes your gums to become red and swollen with increased bleeding.
Four primary factors affect the health of your gums and bone. These factors are hygiene, diet, age, and genetics. Obviously we cannot control genetics and some people are more prone to plaque accumulation and gum disease. We also cannot control the normal bone loss that occurs with age. Hygiene and diet are the two factors we can control. Removing plaque daily will help to prevent bacterial growth on our teeth. Also, healthy eating habits will help to control the amount of damage done to our teeth, gums, and bone. A healthy diet also includes limiting our use of tobacco products. Reducing this bacterial growth will limit bacterial invasion into our gums and bone.
Gum disease can also definitely affect your overall health! Bacteria in our gums is released into our bloodstream which then release harmful enzymes and toxins through our arteries, heart, and entire body. Regular cleanings at your dentist and good home care can limit your risk of gum disease but in some situations when the disease process is more advanced you may need a special type of dental cleaning. This type of cleaning is called scaling and root planing. This involves numbing the gums so that the dental staff can remove the bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth below the gum line. This will help the gums to become firm and healthy. Once you are diagnosed with gum disease, this disease will never completely go away but it can typically be kept under control with proper home care and regular dental visits. The best solution of course would be to prevent gum disease from beginning! For more information on this and other dental related topics, visit www.KnowYourTeeth.com.