How Fort Lauderdale patients can reduce the risk of periodontal disease
Imagine you were washing your hair and noticed blood coming from your scalp. Would you be alarmed? Would you see a doctor? Of course, you would! Yet., you might nor be concerned if you notice gums bleeding when you brush your teeth. Many people assume it is normal, or not a big deal. In reality, it is a sign of periodontal disease, a highly preventable yet surprisingly common oral health condition.
Go Natural Dentistry in Fort Lauderdale offers a variety of healthy, minimally invasive treatment options, including deep cleaning and laser therapy. We are also strong advocates of preventive care and patient education. Therefore, we believe it is important that you understand what causes periodontal disease, what may increase your risk, and what you can do to prevent it.
How periodontal disease develops and progresses
The sticky film that develops on your teeth between brushings is called plaque, and it is home to millions of bacteria and other microorganisms. It clings to teeth and soft tissues in the mouth, but the gum line is particularly susceptible to infection.
Your body’s natural response to infection includes inflammation, which causes infected gum tissue to separate from teeth. Any detachment of gum tissue from the tooth surface creates an opportunity for bacteria to colonize. This creates a destructive, self-perpetuating cycle, with deep pockets forming around teeth.
The deeper periodontal pockets become, the more the infection spreads. Eventually, the bone and other supportive structures erode away, causing teeth to become loose. This condition is the most common cause of tooth loss among American adults.
Mounting evidence shows that the damage caused by periodontal disease is not limited to the mouth. The human body’s response to chronic infection and inflammation includes the production of certain chemicals that can wreak havoc with the immune system. Studies have suggested a link between periodontal disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, premature birth, stroke, heart disease, and more.
Who is at risk
Anyone can get periodontal disease, though it is most common in older adults. Other risk factors for this condition include:
- Unhealthy diet – Your immune system needs nutrients to function properly. Therefore, malnourished individuals and those with poor quality nutrition are at greater risk for infection of any kind. Research indicates that obesity is also a risk factor for periodontal disease. A balanced, nutritious diet with plenty of antioxidants is essential for a strong immune system, which helps your body fight off periodontal disease and other infections.
- Systemic disease – If you have another chronic inflammatory disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes, then your risk of periodontal disease is higher. In many cases the reverse is also true, the presence of periodontal disease may increase your risk for some other conditions.
- Bruxism – Some people clench or grind their teeth during times of stress. Others do this in their sleep, and may not even be aware of the problem. In either case, the excess strain on supporting tissues can exacerbate the damage cause by periodontal disease.
- Orthodontic problems – Straight, even, well aligned teeth are easy to clean. Misalignment can create tight spaces that are difficult or impossible to access with a toothbrush and floss. These areas create havens for harmful bacteria, increasing the risk of periodontal disease and tooth decay.
- Genetic predisposition – If you have a family history of oral disease, then you may have a higher risk. That does not mean periodontal disease is inevitable, but you need to be extra vigilant with preventive measures such as oral hygiene and dental care.
- Tobacco use – Smokers tend to accumulate more tartar, develop deeper periodontal pockets, and have more severe oral disease.
- Stress – Modern life is demanding, fast-paced, and high-stress. This doesn’t just take a mental toll, but also impacts our physical health. Stress management can benefit your mind and body, including oral health.
- Infrequent dental care – Never underestimate the importance of preventive dentistry. We are here to help you enjoy optimal health and wellness. Regular cleanings and guidance about healthy habits can often stop periodontal disease before it begins.
You deserve a beautiful and healthy smile, with safe and natural dental care. That is why we are here. Call Go Natural Dentistry at (855) 381-6001 and schedule an appointment to begin your journey to great oral health.