Periodontal maintenance refers to preserving the health of the periodontium, which is the bone, connective tissue, and gum that surrounds and supports teeth. If this area becomes infected with periodontal diseases, they will infect your gums and will gradually undermine and destroy the support of your natural teeth.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
These diseases have two phases. In the first stage, called gingivitis, your gums become swollen and red, and they might start bleeding. In the second and more serious phase, called periodontitis, the gums can start pulling away from the tooth, bone loss can occur, and the teeth can come loose or fall out. These diseases are mainly seen in adults.
Causes of Periodontal Diseases
Scientists have documented multiple disease-causing entities, all of which require specific treatment methods. The most common cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals is bacterial plaque. You can prevent most periodontal diseases by brushing and flossing your teeth every day.
Adults who are more than 35 years old suffer more tooth loss from gum diseases than from cavities. Three out of four adults suffer from this at some point in their lives. The most effective way to prevent periodontal disease and cavities is by brushing and flossing effectively every day.
There are other factors that can affect the health of your gums, such as smoking, diabetes, stress, clenching and grinding of the teeth, what kind(s) of medication you use, and the quality of your nutrition. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will go a long way toward preserving the quality of your teeth and gums.
Bacteria and Plaque
Bacterial plaque can cause both periodontal disease and tooth decay. Plaque is a colorless film that becomes stuck on your teeth at the gum line. Plaque is constantly forming on your teeth, but if you brush and floss them thoroughly every day, you can remove these germs, stop future ones from growing, and prevent periodontal disease.
If the plaque is not carefully removed through daily brushing and flossing, it hardens into a rough, porous substance called calculus or tartar. If tartar builds up it can spread below the gum line, making the teeth harder to clean. At that point, only a dental professional can remove it and prevent the spread of the disease.
The bacteria found in plaque produce toxins that irritate the gums, causing them to turn red, swell and bleed more easily. If this condition continues, the gums will separate from the teeth and pockets will form. As these periodontal diseases continue to progress, they deteriorate the supporting gum tissue and bone which hold the teeth in place. Unless the condition is treated, it will lead to tooth loss.
Prevention of Periodontitis
It bears repeating that the most effective way to prevent periodontal disease is by thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth every day. We also recommend coming in regularly for professional examinations and tooth cleanings. However, even despite the most diligent dental care, some people can still develop a periodontal disease of some sort. If this happens, we need to intervene to prevent it from getting worse.