Preventing Gum Disease
Eastpointe | Grosse Pointe | St. Clair Shores

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Adults over the age of 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and Periodontal Diseases is by daily thorough tooth brushing and flossing techniques and 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 include:

  • Tobacco usage
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition

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

Current studies have now linked periodontal disease with tobacco usage. If you smoke one pack of cigarettes a day you are four times more likely to develop a significant periodontal problem. The disease process in smokers will be more severe than those of non-smokers. There is a greater incidence of calculus formation on teeth, deeper pockets between gums and teeth as well as a greater loss of the bone and fibers that hold the teeth in your mouth. In addition, your chance of developing oral cancer greatly increases with the use of all tobacco, including smokeless tobacco products.  Chemicals in tobacco such as nicotine and tar slow down healing and the greatly alter 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 with dental implants .

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

Diabetes & Oral Health

Individuals suffering from diabetes, especially uncontrolled diabetics, have a higher risk of developing bacterial infections of the mouth. These infections may impair your ability to process insulin, resulting in greater difficulty  controlling your diabetes. Periodontal diseases in diabetics will be more severe than the disease found in healthy individuals. 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 Medical and Dental histories and the current status of your health. Finally, you can help resist periodontal infection by maintaining good control of your blood sugar levels if you are diabetic.

Women & Periodontal Health

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

Puberty

During puberty, there is an increased production of sex hormones. These higher levels increase gum sensitivity and lead to greater irritation 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 clear up once the period has started. As the amount of sex hormones decrease, so do these problems.

Pregnancy

Your 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 periodontal 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. This will help eliminate the risk of drug interactions, such as the use of antibiotics with oral contraceptives – which can lessen the effectiveness of the contraceptive.

Menopause

Changes 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 to treat the effects of dry mouth.