Portland Periodontal HealthWhen you think about the health of your mouth, you probably think about the condition of your teeth. While healthy teeth are essential to a healthy mouth, they are not the only component. The health of your gums is just as important. Healthy gums sit tightly against your teeth, providing a protective seal against oral bacteria. This tissue is also important for keeping your teeth in place. If oral bacteria build up in your mouth, they irritate your gums, leading to gum disease, which can put your oral, overall, health in jeopardy. At PDX Center for Dentistry, we can help you to maintain your periodontal health, and keep your whole mouth healthy.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is a progressive oral health issue. It begins with the irritation and inflammation of your gum tissue due to a buildup of plaque and oral bacteria. Untreated, the condition only continues to grow worse. Your swollen gums pull away from your teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria fall into these pockets. They continue to attack your gums, along with your jawbone and periodontal ligaments. Eventually, your gums begin to recede, your teeth become loose, and you may even experience tooth loss. It is even possible for bacteria to make their way into your bloodstream, which can then lead to serious issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

How Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?

There are several steps that you can take to maintain your periodontal health, along with the health of your teeth, your mouth, and your whole body in general. These steps include:

•  Taking care of your mouth at home. It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once per day. You should brush for at least two minutes every time your brush using a soft bristled brush to help prevent irritation of your gum tissue. When flossing, take care not to force the floss between your teeth or snap it against your gums. •  Regular dental visits. It is recommended that you have at least two professional dental visits every year. During these visits, we provide your teeth with a thorough cleaning, removing plaque, tartar, bacteria and debris buildup. We also perform thorough oral exams, checking your teeth and gums for signs of issues, such as damage, decay, and infection. Exams allow us to spot issues early and take action before they become serious. •  A healthy diet. Eating a well-balanced diet is important for the health of your entire body, including your periodontal health. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals – dark, leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, legumes, and nuts – will help to keep your teeth and gums healthy, preventing inflammation and gum disease.

How is Gum Disease Treated?

While taking proper care of your mouth goes a long way in helping you to prevent gum disease, it can still happen. If you notice any symptoms of gum disease, no matter how minor they may seem, it is important that you contact our office right away. Treatments for gum disease vary based on the severity of your situation. Earlier stages of gum disease can often be treated with scaling and root planing, a “deep” cleaning of your teeth. More advanced stages may require more invasive treatments, such as pocket reduction surgery or grafting. When it comes to maintaining your periodontal health, taking proper care of your teeth and gums is essential. For more information, or if you suspect something is wrong, contact PDX Center for Dentistry today at (503) 546-9079.