Periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease that involves the deterioration of the soft tissue and bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. Advanced periodontitis often results in loss of teeth and can lead to more serious health conditions like increased risk of heart attack or stroke. There is no way to reverse periodontitis once it becomes advanced, but there are ways to prevent this severe gum disease.
Cleaning Your Teeth
Practicing good dental hygiene is the first step in preventing periodontitis. The experts at the American Dental Association recommend brushing teeth at least twice a day to remove bacteria that builds up on the surface of the teeth. A soft-bristle toothbrush is the best tool for the job and most dentists recommend you replace your brush every three months or so. The Mayo Clinic also recommends an electric toothbrush for a more thorough cleaning. Use a toothpaste or mouth rinse that contains fluoride to keep teeth strong and prevent decay.
Flossing your teeth is another important method of preventing periodontitis. This process removes food debris and bacteria that gets between your teeth and cannot be removed with a toothbrush. The American Dental Association recommends flossing your teeth daily. The best time to floss is probably at night before bed, so you can remove all the food particles that have built up throughout the day.
Regular dental checkups offer two benefits. First, your dentist will be able to pick up on the early stages of gum disease if you are regularly in his office. Early gum disease is treated and even reversible, advanced periodontitis is not. Regular checkups also provide a professional cleaning that will get rid of any bacteria or plaque that has built up since your last appointment. Most dentists want to see their patients every six months. However, your dentist will recommend the best schedule for you based on your specific needs.
Kicking the Smoking Habit
Smoking increases the risk of periodontitis, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. Smokers tend to have more plaque buildup than nonsmokers. They also have a higher risk of deep pockets between the teeth and gums and loss of tissue and bone that supports the teeth. Smokers also do not respond as well to treatment in the early stages of periodontitis as nonsmokers do, making it difficult to treat and reverse gum disease before it becomes advanced.
Good Eating Habits
A healthy diet also can help to prevent periodontitis. The American Dental Association advises everyone to stick with a diverse diet that includes all the major food groups. It is also important to limit snacking between meals, especially when those snacks are high in sugar content. If possible, brush your teeth after every meal or snack to avoid plaque buildup that can lead to gum disease.