Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gumline. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
What is periodontal disease?
Many people are surprised to find out they have periodontal disease because it is often painless and symptoms can be very mild until there is an advanced problem. Periodontal disease occurs typically when plaque (the sticky white stuff) is not removed. The plaque which contains bacteria then hardens, becoming tartar (the yellow, brown, black “stains”), which makes it extremely difficult for you to remove. From there the tarter and bacteria begin to migrate below the gum line and creates toxins which actually “eat” the bone away. Teeth will eventually become loose and be lost without professional intervention.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor Nutrition
Unfortunately periodontal disease does not only affect your oral health. The increased bacterial presence in the mouth enables the bacteria to enter your bloodstream, thus affecting your overall health.
Recent studies have shown that patients with untreated periodontal disease are at:
- 2 times greater risk for heart disease
- 3 times greater risk for stroke
- 7.5 times greater risk to have premature babies with low birth weight
- 65% increased risk for pancreatic cancer
The good news is that periodontal disease is treatable! Surgical treatment can be avoided especially when the disease is caught in its early stages. With proper care and maintenance you and your teeth can have a long and healthy life!