How Professional Dental Hygiene Treatments Can Prevent Gum Disease

Dental Hygiene Treatment

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Gum disease or periodontal disease is a common but preventable condition that affects the tissues surrounding your teeth. It usually starts with poor oral hygiene habits, leading to plaque buildup that hardens into tartar, which only professional cleaning can remove. Without proper treatment, gum disease can progress, causing sore, bleeding gums, painful chewing, and even tooth loss. Professional dental hygiene treatments play a crucial role in preventing gum disease by ensuring that your teeth and gums are thoroughly cleaned, helping to maintain a healthy mouth and overall well-being.

Understanding Gum Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. It’s typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque (a sticky film of bacteria) to build up on the teeth and harden. In advanced stages, periodontal disease can lead to sore, bleeding gums, painful chewing problems, and even tooth loss.

Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colourless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.

There are several risk factors for gum disease, with smoking being the most significant. Smoking also can make treatment for gum disease less successful. Other risk factors include diabetes, hormonal changes in girls and women, medications that lessen the flow of saliva, certain illnesses (such as AIDS), and genetic susceptibility.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Recognising the symptoms of gum disease early can prevent serious damage to your oral health. Symptoms include:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away.
  • Red or swollen gums.
  • Tender or bleeding gums.
  • Painful chewing.
  • Loose teeth.
  • Sensitive teeth.
  • Receding gums or longer-appearing teeth.

The Role of Professional Dental Hygiene Treatments

During a dental visit, a dentist or dental hygienist will:

  • Examine your gums and note any signs of inflammation.
  • Use a tiny ruler called a “probe” to check for and measure any pockets around the teeth. In a healthy mouth, the depth of these pockets is usually between 1 and 3 millimetres. This test for pocket depth is usually painless.
  • Ask about your medical history to identify conditions or risk factors (such as smoking or diabetes) that may contribute to gum disease.

The dental professional may also:

  • Take an x-ray to see whether there is any bone loss.
  • Refer you to a periodontist. Periodontists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease and may provide you with treatment options that your dentist does not offer.

Treatment and Management of Gum Disease

The main goal of treatment is to control the infection. The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the gum disease. Any type of treatment requires that the patient keep up good daily care at home. The dentist may also suggest changing certain behaviours, such as quitting smoking, to improve your treatment results.

Treatments include:

  • Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing): This involves removing plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line.
  • Medications: Your dentist may prescribe antimicrobial mouthwashes or antibiotics to reduce bacteria in the mouth.
  • Advanced Treatments: In severe cases, surgical procedures like flap surgery or bone and tissue grafts might be necessary.

Tips for Preventing Gum Disease

Maintaining healthy gums and teeth requires daily care and regular professional check-ups. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Daily Oral Hygiene Practices:
    • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
    • Floss regularly to remove plaque from between teeth. Consider using interdental cleaners or a water flosser for added effectiveness.
  • Lifestyle Changes:
    • Quit smoking to reduce your risk of gum disease significantly.
    • Manage diabetes and other health conditions that can affect your oral health.
  • Regular Professional Dental Hygiene Visits:
    • Schedule routine check-ups and professional cleanings to keep plaque and tartar at bay.
    • Follow your dentist’s recommendations for maintaining oral health between visits.

Dental care procedures are important in eradicating gum disease and ensuring that one has a healthy smile. This means that through the help of a professional dentist, proper brushing and flossing as well as avoiding bad habits and unhealthy foods, one’s gums and teeth can be healthy. Do not skip dental appointments – they are crucial in preventing major problems and creating a healthy, beautiful smile for life.

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