What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
Do your gums bleed when you brush and floss your teeth? If you have noticed trace amounts of blood in your saliva after you clean your teeth, then there is a high likelihood that you are suffering from an extremely common infection known as periodontal disease. Affecting nearly half of all American adults, periodontal disease is a chronic illness that is caused by poor oral hygiene. If left untreated, it can lead to a host of dangerous complications such as respiratory infections, heart attack, stroke, cancer, and even death. That is why we here at Arrowhead Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery like to educate our patients about the dangers of this disease and work with you to help prevent it from occurring in the first place.
How Can I Prevent Periodontal Disease?
Many of our patients are surprised to discover that periodontal disease is not painful at all in the beginning. Early signs of gum disease can be hard to detect because many people look for pain as a clue that something is wrong, and without it, it can be difficult to notice. Clues that you may have gum disease include blood in your saliva after you brush and floss, red or swollen gums, receding gumline, and bad breath (halitosis) or a sour taste in your mouth.
Early stage gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is entirely curable. However, once it progresses to advanced stage gum disease (periodontitis), it is considered a chronic disease and must be managed as one. At this point, it cannot be reversed. Preventing gum disease is vital to help avoid complications from this illness later on in life.
Gum disease is caused by bacteria that get trapped against your teeth and your gums. This sticky white residue is called plaque and is teeming with dangerous bacteria. These bacteria give off acids and toxins that attack your gums, leading to infection.
Removing plaque is key to preventing gum disease. You can do this by implementing a good oral hygiene regimen. Start by using a pea-sized dollop of fluoridated toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time, at a 45-degree angle to your gumline.
After you brush your teeth, you need to floss. Floss at least once per day with an 18-inch section of dental floss. Work the floss between each tooth, taking care to remove all trapped buildup and debris. Make sure you get it up under your gumline, too. Use a fresh segment of floss per tooth to avoid spreading bacteria. After brushing and flossing, you can finish up with an antibacterial mouthwash, but just remember that mouthwash is no replacement for brushing and flossing!
Reach Out to Us Today
In addition to taking good care of your teeth, you also need to make sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet low in sugar and acid. You also need to make sure that you schedule regular dental appointments. If it has been longer than six months since your last appointment, please give us a call here at Arrowhead Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery today at (623) 412-0310 to schedule your next exam or to learn more about prevention and management of periodontal disease.