4 Tips That Help You Prevent Periodontitis Naturally
Protect Your Smile and Prevent Periodontitis
Periodontitis is the most advanced form of gum disease and can only be corrected with professional intervention. It’s caused by excessive plaque and tartar build-up in the gum pockets that trigger inflammation and eventual infection if left untreated.
In addition to inflamed and infected gum tissue, periodontitis can also cause the gums to pull away from the teeth and the infection to erode bone. Combined, these two problems can lead to tooth loss.
Despite the damage periodontitis can cause, there are ways to prevent it from happening. Here’s what you need to know about advanced periodontal disease and how you can take action to protect your smile.
How can I tell if I have periodontitis?
The most common symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Visibly swollen and puffy-looking gums
- Discolored gums, such as bright red or even purple
- Tender gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing
- Halitosis or chronic bad breath
- Teeth feel wiggly and loose
- Pain or discomfort when chewing
- Receding gums and teeth looking too long
- Change in your normal bite alignment
At an advanced stage of periodontitis, you might even see pus between your teeth and gums or feel as though your teeth are going to fall out.
Is periodontitis curable?
Periodontitis cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be treated.
Periodontitis treatment includes a special deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing, which removes the infection, dead tissue, and plaque from the gum pockets. Gum pocket reduction is a surgical procedure that can repair damage deep within the gum tissue surrounding the tooth.
Dental implants, bridges, or dentures can be used to replace teeth that need to be extracted. Restorative and cosmetic dentistry services can also be used to revive your smile.
Can I prevent periodontitis naturally?
Periodontitis responds very well to preventive care, and it’s possible to prevent all forms of periodontal disease entirely with excellent oral care habits and regular dental checkups.
Here are four effective ways to prevent periodontitis.
1. Brush and floss twice a day, every day.
The goal is to reduce plaque build-up and remove as much as possible between your biannual cleaning visits with your dental hygienist. The way to accomplish this is by taking excellent care of your teeth at home by prioritizing healthy brushing and flossing habits.
Brushing and flossing are the two most powerful ways of preventing periodontitis. Brush twice daily for a complete two minutes while using the proper technique. Floss at least once a day, ideally before your bedtime brushing session, and be sure to clean between each tooth up to the gumline. You can brush more frequently, such as after a big meal, but don’t overdo it. Too frequent brushing, especially immediately after eating, can weaken tooth enamel.
If you want to do even more for your oral health, you might consider upgrading to a powered toothbrush and water flossing system. These two tools are very effective at cleaning teeth, and powered toothbrushes have been shown to remove plaque better than manual toothbrushes.
2. Evaluate your lifestyle habits.
Tobacco use is well-known for its detrimental impact on oral health. Studies show that smokers are twice as likely to develop periodontal disease than nonsmokers. Permanently quitting tobacco use is tough, but the health benefits are worth the temporary discomfort.
Systemic medical conditions and medications can also make you vulnerable to periodontitis. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and several types of cancer all share a connection with chronic periodontitis. Medications with common side effects of dry mouth can also contribute to periodontal disease as they exacerbate plaque and tartar build-up.
Always update your dentist with any changes to your medical history or medication use, and immediately report any new side effects like dry mouth.
3. Eat a varied, nutritious diet.
A diet with a large variety of whole or minimally processed foods is best for your smile. Sugars, starches, and acidic foods and beverages encourage plaque development, which means consuming large quantities daily can contribute to periodontal disease. Even the best at-home dental care routine can’t keep up if a person’s diet works against optimal oral health.
You don’t need to eliminate certain foods from your diet entirely. Instead, limit how often you consume them within a day. This is much easier to accomplish and provides a more balanced diet that doesn’t focus on restrictive eating. After you have something sweet or acidic, remember to wait 30 to 60 minutes before brushing your teeth to avoid damaging your enamel.
Supplementing with certain vitamins and minerals can also reduce the risks of periodontal disease. Vitamins C and A are especially important for healthy gums, but these other vitamins and minerals share strong links to healthy smiles.
Don’t forget to support your oral microbiome by consuming foods with natural probiotics and taking a daily probiotic supplement.
4. See your dentist every six months.
The earliest warning signs of periodontitis aren’t always obvious. In fact, it’s possible to have active periodontitis with only very mild symptoms, like minor tenderness or light bleeding while flossing. Your dentist is the only one who can detect periodontitis and other types of gum disease before serious damage has occurred.
Your six-month checkup and dental cleaning appointments allow your dentist to notice the first signs of periodontal disease. The hygienist will also remove any plaque build-up and check your gum pockets for any signs of swelling or inflammation during your cleaning.
Even if your smile feels great, and you can’t remember the last time you had a cavity, never skip your biannual preventive care visits.
Perfect your preventive care routine at Berrien Dental.
Are you concerned about periodontitis or suspect you’re already experiencing periodontal disease symptoms? Our Berrien Springs and St. Joseph dentists are ready to help with customized treatment care plans. Schedule your visit today by calling your preferred location or requesting an appointment online.