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Periodonal Health: Gum Disease Prevention Tips
The progressive dental condition of gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. Fortunately, though, it is preventable. While there are some genetic factors that play in the development of periodontitis, many cases are caused by ineffective hygiene habits and infrequent dental visits. For patients who want to prevent this destructive condition, there are a few key steps to take.
Important factors for preventing gum disease
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a matter of practicing good oral hygiene habits at home and visiting a dentist at regular intervals. Each patient's needs are determined on a case-by-case basis. Some patients with high risk factors may require additional periodontal maintenance.
Practicing effective home hygiene habits
Most people know that brushing, flossing, and swishing with mouthrinse are things that should be done every day. However, patients sometimes get lax in these habits. Without proper hygiene habits, the teeth and gums accumulate the sticky plaque and bacteria that lead to an unhealthy oral condition. Prevention of gum disease is easier than treatment, so it is important that patients are diligent about keeping their mouths clean and healthy every day.
Dentists should question patients at each visit about daily oral hygiene care. If the patient is not brushing or flossing frequently enough, a plan should be made to incorporate this into a normal routine. The entire dental team must encourage patients to take charge of oral health, and they should provide tips on any areas of care that are difficult for the patient.
Going to regular dental appointments
Once plaque hardens on the teeth, it is called calculus. This substance, also known as tartar, cannot physically be removed with a toothbrush. A professional dental cleaning is necessary for the removal of this hard material that can contribute to gum disease. If the calculus is left undisturbed for too long, it becomes a reservoir on which harmful bacteria and plaque will live.
Adhering to a dentist's treatment recommendations
Patients who have certain risk factors for gum disease, such as smoking, may be placed on a more frequent care schedule than the average patient. Those who have heavy plaque and calculus accumulation at every appointment may be asked to come every three months instead of six. This is so that preventive services can be performed before the condition becomes too advanced. Patients must follow a dentist's guidelines about how often they need teeth cleanings, as each patient's situation is different.
While gum disease is a prevalent condition in the American population, it can be slowed when patients are well-informed about prevention. All patients should have routine periodontal disease screenings so that problems can be addressed in the early stages. For patients who show signs of periodontal infection, a consultation with a dentist is recommended to find out what steps are needed to keep the teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime.
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