Periodontal disease – also known as gum disease – is an inflammatory disease that affects the structures that hold your teeth in place: the gums, periodontal ligaments and bone.
Multiple studies have identified a connection between gum disease and systemic health. It has been connected to heart attack, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease and even some types of cancer.
At Sunshine Dental Associates, we work with patients to keep their mouths disease-free. However, periodontal disease can be hereditary and in those cases, even the best home care and professional cleaning regimen cannot prevent it. But the good news is that periodontal disease can be managed, and we can help.
More Frequent Cleanings
Patients who have been diagnosed with gum disease may benefit from professional cleanings more than twice annually. We also provide a deeper cleaning for patients who need to get their disease under control, or who are on a gum disease maintenance regimen. This deep cleaning is called scaling and root planing. It is a nonsurgical treatment that involves removing plaque and calculus from the surfaces of your teeth’s roots, followed by smoothing the root surfaces to help prevent future accumulations.
One way of gauging the severity of gum disease is to measure the periodontal pockets that are formed when the disease has destroyed some of the gum tissue and bone, which created larger areas in which harmful bacteria can live. Your best defense against gum disease and deep periodontal pockets between professional cleanings is a piece of dental floss between your two index fingers. Dedicated flossing daily helps keep these areas clean.
Periodontal Disease Risk Factors
These factors can increase your risk of gum disease, or make it worse once the infection has set in.
- Tobacco use- Smoking is a leading cause of gum disease. It also makes existing gum disease more severe.
- Medications- Many maintenance medications have a number of side effects that can lead to gum disease. The primary one is dry mouth. Saliva helps wash away harmful bacteria that can cause gum disease. It is important to tell us what medicines you are on so that we can more closely monitor your oral health if needed.
- Stress- Research shows that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection.
- Teeth grinding and clenching- This habit applies additional force to your teeth’s supporting tissues and has the potential to destroy them faster.
- Poor nutrition- Eating healthy food helps promote a good immune system, which helps keep your mouth and gums healthy.
- Genetics- This is one you can’t control, but some people simply are more susceptible to gum disease than others.