You’ve probably heard a lot about gum disease, and if you’re one of our regular readers, you know about the oral-systemic connection, which is the link between your oral health and your overall wellbeing. Common knowledge within the medical and dental communities upholds that bacterial infection and disease in your mouth do not remain in your mouth, but rather travel throughout the body. Essentially, the bacteria that cause gum disease are potentially infectious to every other part of your body, as well. To aid in the fight against gum disease and its rippling effects, Dr. Brad Greenfield offers these tips to help prevent its formation.
Caring for Your Teeth and Gums
The damage that results from moderate to severe periodontal (gum) disease can be devastating, and repairing that damage requires extensive dental procedures and care. In most cases, the patient does not even realize they have gum disease. By the time obvious systems appear (i.e., swollen and irritated gums and pockets created by the separation of gum tissue from the teeth), the condition has advanced. At this point, you may already have oral damage, including loose teeth and possible alveolar bone degradation (deterioration of the jawbone, which supports and anchors your teeth). Prevention of gum disease, however, is much less complicated than treatment. Although it may seem oversimplified, brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day removes the elements necessary for gum disease to develop, including bacterial plaque buildup and excessive presence of acids. Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash can also prove beneficial by washing away food particles and bacteria that you may have missed with the toothbrush and dental floss.
Daily dental maintenance is important, but is only effective above and slightly below the gum line. Visit your dentist at least every six months for a routine checkup and professional dental cleaning. Our hygienist will thoroughly clean your mouth and remove missed plaque and tartar buildup. After a thorough examination, Dr. Greenfield will be able to tell you whether your gums are infected, and offer a variety of treatment options, depending on the level of progression. Because the early symptoms of gum disease are invisible to the naked eye, a dental checkup is the only sure way to determine if your gums are infected before they are devastated with damage.
Habits that Affect Your Risk Factor
No matter how well you clean your teeth, it will all be for naught if you engage in habits that are detrimental to your oral health. The list of such habits is long, but perhaps the most notorious one is smoking. Every puff of cigarette smoke contains over 4,700 different chemicals and is almost a guarantee of developing some sort of oral issue, including oral cancer and, yes, gum disease. There are no effective defenses against the harm of tobacco use. The best solution is to quit smoking. Your diet is extremely important as well. Reduce the amount of sugar you consume, and especially the frequency with which you consume it. This will deprive the harmful bacteria in your mouth of a key ingredient they need to produce the acids that destroy your oral health.
By taking extra care of your oral health, you protect your mouth and body from bacterial infection. Be sure to continue to attend your dental checkup at least every six months to allow Dr. Greenfield to inspect the state of your oral health. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Greenfield, call Lake Orion Family Dentistry in Lake Orion, Michigan, at (248) 693-6213. We welcome patients from Lake Orion, Oxford, Rochester Hills, Clarkston, and the surrounding communities.