Preventing Periodontal Disease

Gums that are pink, healthy and well taken care of benefit your smile, your teeth, and your general health. Gums that get infected can cause bad breath and infection in your mouth. Mild gum infections are called “gingivitis.”

Dental_Care“If gingivitis is not treated, it can become periodontal disease, and that’s a serious problem,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix dental office. “Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss,” she adds. A serious gum infection can spread down the tooth root. Once the infection is around the root, it forms pockets of infection. The infection weakens the bone that supports the tooth and once the tooth root doesn’t have a foundation, the tooth loosens and comes out.

The Mayo Clinic also warns that “women with periodontitis may be more likely to give birth to premature babies or babies with low birth weight than are women with healthy gums.”

Periodontal disease can be treated and cured. “It’s important to catch periodontal disease early, but there are treatments that do work well, including root plaing and scaling,” says Dr. Ford.

Root planning and scaling cleans the space between the gums and the teeth, cleaning out any pockets that have formed around the tooth or its root.

After root planning or scaling, your gums can heal return to the pink look that indicates healthy gums. To help the healing and to maintain the new gum tissue, you will need to brush and floss regularly.

“The easiest way to retain teeth and make them last a lifetime is to take care of them. It’s not difficult or even particularly time-consuming,” says Dr. Ford. “Brushing and flossing every day will go a long way to keep your gums healthy. And that is the best way to keep a bright and youthful smile,” she adds.

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