Preventing Gum Disease

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

Other important factors that can negatively affect the health of your gums include:

  • Tobacco use (smoking or chewing)
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Certain medications
  • Poor nutrition
  • Diabetes
  • Heredity
  • Local irritants

Drs. Meraw, Mentzel, and Plonka will screen for and control these factors to most effectively treat your periodontal disease. 

Periodontal Disease & Tobacco

You are probably familiar with the links between tobacco use and lung disease, cancer, and heart disease. Tobacco use also signficantly increases your risk of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is more severe and more resistant to treatment in smokers than those who do not use tobacco. There is a greater incidence of harmful bacteria, calculus formation on teeth, deeper pockets between gums and teeth, and a greater loss of the bone and fibers that hold teeth in your mouth.  Tobacco use also masks the severity of disease, hiding symptoms. In addition, your chance of developing oral cancer increases with the use of all forms of tobacco.

Chemicals in cigarettes such as nicotine and tar also slow down healing and the predictability of success following periodontal treatment.  People who smoke a pack a day are seven times more likely to have periodontal diseases. Quitting smoking and tobacco-use can have numerous benefits for your overall and periodontal health.