Preventing Gum Disease

Adults over the age of 35 lose more teeth to gum disease than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected by gum disease at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and Periodontal Diseases is by daily thorough tooth brushing and flossing techniques, as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.


Other important factors affecting the health of your gums and surrounding bone include:

  • Tobacco usage
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Various Medications
  • Poor nutrition

Periodontal Disease & Tobacco

You are probably familiar with the links between tobacco use and lung disease, cancer, and heart disease.

stop smoking

Current studies have directly linked periodontal disease with tobacco usage. Tobacco users tend to present more severe disease than that of nonusers. There is a greater incidence of calculus formation on teeth, deeper pockets between gums and teeth, and greater loss of the bone and fibers. In addition, an individual’s chance of developing oral cancer increases with the use of smokeless tobacco.

Chemicals in tobacco such as nicotine and tar slow down healing and the predictability of success following periodontal treatment.


Problems caused by tobacco include:

Lung disease, heart disease, cancer, mouth sores, gum recession, loss of bone and teeth, bad breath, tooth staining, less success with periodontal treatment and dental implants.

Quitting tobacco will reduce the chance of developing the above problems.


Diabetes & Oral Health

blood sugar meter

Individuals suffering from diabetes, especially uncontrolled, have a higher risk of developing bacterial infections of the mouth. These infections may impair the body’s ability to process insulin, resulting in greater difficulty with controlling the diabetes. As a result, periodontal diseases may be more severe for diabetics, and therefore more difficult to treat. Dr. Benson will work closely with your personal health needs in order to accommodate your condition.

Steps to prevent periodontal disease include daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque from your teeth and gums, regular dental visits for professional cleaning, and regular periodontal evaluation. Your health professional must also be told of your history and the current status of your condition. And finally, you can help resist periodontal infection by maintaining control of your blood sugar levels.

Women & Periodontal Health

Throughout a woman’s life, hormonal changes affect tissue throughout the body. Fluctuations in hormone levels occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. At these times, the chance of developing periodontal disease may increase, requiring special care of your oral health.

teen on the beachPuberty

During puberty, there is increased production of sex hormones. These higher levels increase gum sensitivity and lead to greater irritations from plaque and food particles. The gums can become swollen, turn red, and feel tender.

Menstruation

Similar symptoms occasionally appear several days before menstruation. There can be bleeding of the gums, bright red swelling between the teeth and gum, or sores on the inside of the cheek. The symptoms tend to clear up once menstruation has started. As the amount of sex hormones decrease, so do these problems.

Pregnancy

momYour gums and teeth are also affected during pregnancy. Between the second and eighth month, your gums may also swell, bleed, and become red or tender. Large lumps may appear as a reaction to local irritants. However, these growths are generally painless and not cancerous. They may require professional removal, but usually disappear after pregnancy.

Periodontal health should be part of your prenatal care. Any infections during pregnancy, including periodontal infections, can place a baby’s health at risk.

The best way to prevent periodontal infections is to begin with healthy gums and continue to maintain your oral health with proper home care and careful periodontic monitoring.

Oral Contraceptives

Swelling, bleeding, and tenderness of the gums may also occur when you are taking oral contraceptives, which are synthetic hormones.

You must mention any prescriptions you are taking, including oral contraceptives, prior to medical or dental treatment. The use of some antibiotics lowers the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.

Menopause

GrandmaChanges in the look and feel of your mouth may occur if you are menopausal or post-menopausal. They include feeling pain and burning in your gum tissue and salty, peppery, or sour tastes.

Careful oral hygiene at home and professional cleaning may relieve these symptoms. There are also saliva substitutes that can be used to treat the effects of dry mouth.