Denver, CO – Do you suffer from gum disease and just can’t seem to find relief? If you aren’t already visiting a dentist regularly for periodontal treatment, you should. But treating your periodontitis also depends on you.
“It’s important to first recognize the difference between healthy gums and diseased gums,” says Denver periodontics specialist Dr. Alan Pomeranz. “Healthy gums are firm and pink and do not bleed when flossing or brushing. If your gums regularly bleed when brushing or flossing, visit a dentist to determine the cause.”
There are varying levels of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the mildest form and causes red, swollen gums that bleed easily. It is reversible with professional care and proper home care. But if left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis.
Periodontitis results in the tissues and bones that support the teeth breaking down, separating the gus from the teeth. Pockets will then form and fill with infection. If left untreated, the pockets worsen, and teeth can become loose and need to be extracted. You may not even realize you have periodontitis, which is why it is so important to maintain regular checkups with your dentist.
Once the disease is found, the dentist will begin treatment. But eliminating the disease depends on you, too. So what can you do to rid yourself of periodontal disease?
The first line of defense is proper at-home care. If you aren’t currently brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day, begin now. Periodontal disease is often caused by plaque that builds up at the gumline. When brushing, be sure to focus on all parts of the teeth, paying close attention to the gumline. Most periodontal disease starts between the teeth, which is why regular flossing is so important.
If you are a smoker who suffers from periodontal disease, quit smoking today. Smoking can increase your chance of losing teeth by up to 700 percent. Tobacco use suppresses the body’s immune system, making it harder to fight off the infections that periodontal disease brings. Smoking can also stunt the growth of blood vessels, which can then slow down the healing process in damaged gum tissue.
There are other factors that can contribute to your risk for periodontal disease, too.
Diabetics are more likely to suffer from gum disease, as people with diabetes are more susceptible to infections. If you are diabetic, it is crucial that you closely monnitor your blood sugar levels. Poor blood sugar control leads to higher instances of gum disease, and a higher risk of losing teeth.
A proper diet is also important to maintain the health of your gums. It is believed that people deficient in Vitamin C and calcium may be more at risk for periodontal disease. Eat foods rich in these vitamins and minerals to help protect your mouth.
Stress can also play a factor. It may sound strange, but if you’re stressed out, your gums could suffer because your immune system could become suppressed.
One factor you can’t control is genetics. If you have a family history of tooth loss and gum disease, it is very important to maintain a healthy oral care regimen, and maintain regular visits with your dentist.
Once your gum disease is diagnosed and treatment begins, it will be up to you to maintain your follow-up appointments with your dentist. This is crucial to ensuring the disease remains under control.
With a little extra attention to your oral care habits, removing a few bad habits, and maintaining a regular schedule with your dentist, your gum disease can get under control and you can have a healthy, functioning mouth.
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