Periodontal disease is one of the most common problems Americans face – as many as half of American adults have some level of periodontal disease, and that percentage increases at higher ages. Periodontal disease can take many forms – from mild gingivitis, with symptoms like red inflamed gums, to severe periodontal disease – where pus from infections can push teeth from their socket.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do at home to help prevent – and even treat – periodontal disease. First and foremost – you should brush at least twice a day (ideally after each meal), and floss at least once a day. Periodontal disease typically starts with plaque and tartar on the teeth – brushing and flossing helps remove that plaque before it can harden into tartar.
In addition to brushing and flossing, have regular professional dental cleanings. Most dentists recommend professional cleanings every 6 months, but talk to your dentist about their preferred schedule. Professional cleanings can not only clean plaque better than brushing or flossing, but will remove the hardened, calcified tartar that simple brushing will not be able to remove. Removing the tartar is crucial to separating the bacteria from the surface of the teeth and gums – by physically removing the protective barrier, future brushing will be more likely to prevent periodontal disease from gaining a foothold beneath your gums.
In addition to flossing and professional cleaning, help combat plaque and tartar with supplemental cleaning. For example, use a mouthwash that’s designed to combat plaque, and use dental picks or dental sticks to help remove food material and debris between your teeth. Consider using an electric toothbrush – the vibration of electric toothbrushes may be more effective at displacing plaque and tartar than a manual toothbrush.
Finally, controlling bacteria in the mouth can be done with a few home remedies. Saltwater rinses (2 teaspoons of salt in a glass of warm water, swirled in your mouth for up to 60 seconds) and hydrogen peroxide (food grade, equal parts 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and water, swirled in your mouth for a few seconds and then spit out) can help combat bacteria in your mouth, and sugar free gum with Xylitol has antibacterial properties as well as encourages the production of saliva to help wash food particles from your mouth.
While there’s no substitute for professional dental visits, taking good care of your mouth at home will help keep periodontal disease at bay. If you see red, inflamed, or bleeding gums, skip the home treatment and visit a professional – it’s best to treat periodontal disease before it becomes a serious problem.
If you have any questions or want to schedule a visit for more information on gum health, call at Andrew Weber DDS at 210-496-5603 or visit our website at periodontistsanantonio.com or excellentperiodontist.com.