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Preventing and managing gum disease in Calgary
According to the Canadian Dental Association, seven out of every ten Canadians will experience gum disease at some point in their lives. It is most common in those who smoke and in older adults, but gum disease does not discriminate. Children and teens who do not practice good oral hygiene, expectant mothers, and those with systemic medical conditions are at risk, and heredity plays a role, as well. Gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss in this country. It is linked to grave health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, increased risk of stroke and heart attack, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, prevention is often possible, and gum disease can be managed with proper treatment.
Calgary Dental Centers encourage patients to become better informed on this silent threat to oral health and whole-body wellness.
Recognizing gum disease
In its early stage called gingivitis, gum disease is easy to ignore because there is no pain. Gums may look puffy, or blotchy, and bleed when brushing. You may notice chronic bad breath or a strange taste. These symptoms are caused by bacteria attacking the soft tissue of your mouth. These organisms live in a sticky film of plaque and feast on sugars in food debris. As they eat, they excrete acids which irritate gums. Without proper brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into tartar at the gum line, which causes further irritation. Gums begin to pull away from teeth forming pockets that allow bacteria to burrow deeper.
Without treatment, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. In this advanced state, bacterial infection reaches ligaments and bone that hold teeth in place. Teeth become loose and fall out or must be extracted.
Calgary Dental Centers recommends a multi-pronged approach to preventing gum disease:
- Dental hygiene therapy to remove tartar build-up. These visits also allow the dentist to check for early signs of gum disease or other oral problems.
- Home hygiene – Brush at least twice a day and floss before bedtime. A dental irrigation device complements your home hygiene routine, but it does not replace either brushing or flossing.
- A nutritious diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products promotes gum health. Dry mouth contributes to gum disease, so be sure to drink plenty of fresh water, and limit sugary or acidic beverages.
- Smoking cessation – Use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, e-cigarettes, vaping devices, or smokeless tobacco dramatically increases risk of gum disease. Visit Health Canada at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/quit-cesser/index-eng.php for assistance in quitting.
Periodontal health therapy begins with deep cleaning. A procedure called scaling and root planing scours pockets of plaque, bacteria, and diseased tissue. Tartar is removed and tooth roots are smoothed, which encourages a better seal of gums to teeth. Topical antibiotics may be applied once pockets are sterilized, to further curb infection. It is extremely important to maintain recall appointments so that the dentist may monitor your condition and adjust treatment if necessary.
You deserve the health and appearance benefits of a disease-free mouth. Call Calgary Dental Centers at (403) 768-1339
for a no-cost periodontal consultation.