Preventing Gum Disease

How do you Prevent Gum Disease?

Gum disease or periodontitis is for the most part a largely preventable disease.

Unfortunately sometimes, despite every best effort it will continue to progress and the teeth will be lost. That said, you can drastically slow its progression and keep your teeth for many more years than you would otherwise by following the advice below.

Reducing the risk factors where possible can really help reduce the effects of gum disease.

Unfortunately you can’t do a lot about your age and your genetic susceptibility to it, but you sure as hell can give up smoking!

(i) Smoking

If you are a smoker and are susceptible to gum disease, then you need to ask yourself just one question:

Do you want to keep your teeth?

If the answer is yes, then give up- there is no other solution. The longer you leave it, the more damage you will do- so accept the consequences that come with your choice. OK, I have said my bit… Now, it’s up to you!

(ii) {il|117|Plaque retentive factors]]– see your dentist and if you have anything in your mouth that is preventing proper cleaning and is collecting plaque, make sure you get something done.

(iii) Look after yourself- be healthy, eat well and exercise- this will keep your immune system in good shape and help fight off disease.

  • See a dentist

The earlier gum disease is detected, the sooner treatment can commence and the better the prognosis. If you leave it till your teeth become loose to seek a dentist, then all the damage has already been done.

All dentists screen routinely for gum disease as part of the check up, so make an appointment and get checked out.

  • Have treatment if you need it

If your dentist says you need treatment and explains why, then do yourself a favour and have it done. Your toothbrush will only clean just under the gum, so if you have pocketing then you will need further gum treatment.

If the dentist says you need to have a clean every three months then do it, until you can prove to them it’s not needed- because your hygiene is just that good.

If the dentist refers you to a specialist (periodontist) it is not without good reason- so go! I know it is expensive, but this is your teeth we are talking about- your ability to smile, eat and socialise! Ask, once you have had treatment and things have stabilised, if you can be referred back to your general dentist for routine cleaning. They may still want to check on you periodically depending on your situation.

  • Impeccable oral hygiene

If you are susceptible to gum disease, then we know that you have the appropriate bacteria in your plaque and you have sufficient other factors that are needed for gum disease to occur- which it will- unless you get on top of it.

If these facts apply to you, then having average oral hygiene simply won’t cut it- it needs to be excellent and I mean excellent. As close to zero plaque as possible- if you are serious about preventing it or slowing its progression.

So learn how to brush properly, floss and do so religiously. Make inter-dental brushes ,as I say to my patients, ‘your new best friend’ and use them every single day without fail.

Say to your dentist or hygienist, “Where am I missing?” Get them to show you the areas that require improvement- how else are you going to know?

Good home care is at the very root of preventing gum disease, without it, even if you have the best dentist in the world, you are still going to lose the attachment for your teeth and need dentures.