When most people think about a healthy mouth, they think about the condition of the teeth. While healthy teeth are important, they are only a part of your oral health. Your periodontal, or gum, health is also a critical component. Healthy gum tissue sits snugly against your teeth, protecting the roots of your teeth from harmful oral bacteria. This tissue helps to hold your teeth secure, and in proper alignment. Healthy gums are also an integral component of a beautiful smile. Taking good care of your mouth is necessary for protecting not just the health of your teeth, but the health of your gums as well. Mark Romanelli DDS is here to help.
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a progressive oral health condition that can have serious consequences. It is caused by the irritation of your gums by oral bacteria and plaque. Irritated tissue triggers an inflammatory response, which causes the gums to swell. Red, swollen gums are the first signs that something is wrong, but these symptoms often go unnoticed or ignored. Eventually, your swollen gum tissue begins to pull away from the teeth, breaking the tight seal and causing pockets to form. These pockets trap bacteria and other debris, which cannot be removed with brushing and flossing. The bacteria continue to attack your gums from the inside, while also attacking the periodontal ligaments and your jawbone. The longer gum disease goes untreated, the worse it becomes. The gums begin to recede, the teeth become loose, and you may even suffer tooth loss.
Gum Disease Treatment
Gum disease treatment is necessary for stopping the progression of gum disease and allowing your mouth to heal. There are several different treatments that may be used to treat gum disease. Your exact treatment will depend significantly on how advanced your condition is. A common treatment for gum disease, particularly in the earlier stages, is scaling and root planing. This is essentially a deep cleaning of your teeth, meant to remove all buildup from the surfaces of your teeth and along the gum line. More advanced gum disease may require surgical procedures, including gum flap surgery, pocket reduction surgery, and gum grafting.
Gum Disease Prevention
Gum disease is preventable. There are several steps that you can take to help ensure the health of your gums and your mouth. Proper oral hygiene is important, and it starts in your own home. It is important that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss your teeth at least once a day. In addition to your regular home care routine, regular dental cleanings and exams are also essential. These should be done at least twice a year.
While oral hygiene is crucial, there are other things that you can do to help protect your periodontal health. Lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking can contribute to an increased risk of developing gum disease. It is recommended that you quit smoking, or other tobacco products, and limit your alcohol consumption. A healthy, well-balanced diet can also help keep your gums, and your whole body, healthy. Foods particularly good for gum health include dark, leafy greens, citrus fruits, peppers, shiitake mushrooms, crunchy fruits and vegetables, and dairy products. Eating a well-balanced diet will help to ensure that you get the essential vitamins and minerals you need to keep your whole body healthy, preventing the development of gum disease along with other health issues.
Properly caring for your mouth is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. If you have any questions or concerns, call Mark Romanelli DDS today at (805) 468-4659.
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