Periodontal gum disease is something to be taken lightly, but it can be easily avoided. In order to protect your teeth and gums from developing this serious infection, you need to be able to identify the periodontal disease symptoms. If you are armed with this knowledge, then you can enjoy strong healthy teeth and gums throughout your adult life.
There are several warning signs that should ring alarm bells that all is not right with your dental health. Here are the top seven to look for. If discover any of these symptoms of periodontal disease, then you should talk to your dental care professional for advice immediately:
- Sensitive and swollen gums
- Persistent bad breath or foul taste
- Bleeding gums when you brush, floss or eat crunchy foods
- Receding gums – where gums lines have shrunk from the teeth
- Loose teeth
- Pus on the gums
- Changes in your bite – the way that your upper and lower teeth fit together
What causes periodontal disease?
Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gum disease whereas gingivitis is the initial stage. At the foundation of all stages is a bacterial infection in the teeth and gum line. Bacteria are always present in the mouth to some degree, but they multiple and flourish after you eat something.
The bacteria feed on food particles that are left over in the mouth on the teeth and gums. When there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth, they release toxins, which lead to infection of the gum tissue.
Bacteria, develop into tartar and plaque, which contribute to the condition. Plaque is a sticky substance that is created when bacteria and saliva mix. It coats the teeth and gums daily and can irritate them quickly. When plaque is not removed regularly, it becomes hard tartar. It requires professional cleaning to removed tartar and plaque that is present.
It is very important to remove bacteria constantly by maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. This is the only reliable way to be able to protect gums and teeth from dental problems such as infection and dental decay.
Prevent gum disease
In order to avoid developing either gingivitis or periodontal disease, you should consistently follow a dental hygiene plan at home. In should include, but is limited to:
- Brush twice daily (or after each meal)
- Floss daily
- Maintain a bacteria-controlled environment (mouthwash, natural oils…)
In addition to your daily home oral health habits, you need to frequent your dental hygienist at least twice a year for a deep clean and a check-up (or as often as they recommend). Your dentist is able to clean away any tartar that might be developing on the teeth or under the gum line. They are also able to detect the early stages of periodontal disease before you notice any unusual symptoms and therefore prevent it from setting in.
Brushing – Brushing your teeth is the chief way in which you can remove bacteria from your teeth. Ideally, you should brush the teeth after every meal, but if this is not possible for you, you should at least brush in the morning and the evening.
In addition to maintaining a daily routine, it is also very important to apply the right technique. Start by brushing the upper teeth on the inside, then then the outside. Next, move to the lower teeth brushing the inner side and then the outer side. Finally, brush on the horizontal surface of the teeth on the upper and lower sections.
On the inside and outside of the teeth, hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle toward the gums and use sweeping motions to brush away from the gum line. On the tops of the teeth, you need to brush back and forth. You should brush your teeth for at least two minutes in order to get rid of the maximum amount of bacteria, plaque and food debris.
Flossing – Flossing is a vital step for removing the food debris that get stuck between teeth every day. To floss effectively, you need to wind floss around your index fingers and hold it in place with your thumb. Between each hand, leave a space of floss of about five centimeters.
Start at the back teeth and work your way forwards. First, delicately glide the floss between the teeth into the gum groove, then move it alone the tooth scraping the tooth surface. Do not slide it back and forth along the gum; this movement is likely to cause bleeding and injury.
Mouthwash – The third step of a successful oral hygiene routine is using a mouthwash (or botanical oil) at least twice a day. Swilling this around your mouth after brushing and flossing will get rid of leftover bacteria and food particles and leave your mouth clean and fresh. Make sure you select a mouthwash that is alcohol free for best results.
By being free of the periodontal disease symptoms and knowing how to prevent the condition, you can have vibrant dental health. When you put this knowledge into practice and follow a good oral hygiene routine and see your dentist regularly, you are unlikely to ever have to deal with painful and expensive dental treatments.