Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is caused by bacteria that feeds on sugars in the mouth to form plaque, a filmy substance that sticks to the teeth. If plaque remains for only a short period of time on the teeth, it can combine with more bacteria to form tartar, a hard substance that can appear both above and below the gum line. When it forms below the gum line, it can cause the gums to swell and separate from the teeth. This can cause pockets to form in which bacteria can thrive and may result in severe infections or tooth loss.
Preventing periodontal disease
Preventing periodontal disease requires a two-pronged approach, which entails both fighting the bacteria that causes it and denying it the sugars on which it feeds. Regular brushing and flossing are essential in removing bacteria before it can begin feasting on sugars in the mouth to form plaque. Use of an antibacterial mouthwash is highly recommended. Eating between meals, especially foods containing sugars, should be avoided in order to prevent a constant supply of sugars for plaque formation.
Brushing should be thorough, without skipping hard-to-reach spots, and should last at least two minutes in order to cover your entire mouth. Flossing should be done with at least two feet of floss, using a different part of the floss as you progress through your mouth. Using the same part of the floss between each pair of teeth spreads bacteria throughout your mouth. Mouthwash should be moved around inside the mouth for at least thirty seconds before removal.
Avoid sweets, high carbohydrate foods, milk products, and especially sugary drinks between meals. All of these foods contain sugars that can cause plaque to form.
Treating periodontal disease
Treating periodontal disease may require invasive treatments such as scaling, which removes plaque and tartar, and planing, which entails the cleaning of the roots of the teeth. These treatments may need to be repeated if the disease progresses. However, there are less invasive therapies being developed to treat periodontal disease. One of these innovative approaches to treatment is called perio protect.
What is perio protect?
Perio protect is a method for fighting bacteria before plaque can form, which involves customized chemical solutions that can be administered by patients between periodontal visits. These solutions can be applied using a customized dental tray that fits into the mouth and allows the chemicals to directly access periodontal pockets, killing bacteria and making the pockets less inhabitable for bacteria to thrive. While it cannot completely eliminate invasive treatments, the perio protect method can minimize the frequency of periodontal visits. For more information, contact Hurst Family Dental or a similar location.