Preventing Gum Disease: How to Keep Your Gums Healthy
A personalized program of care is helpful when it comes to maintaining healthy gums. The key goal is: maintenance therapy. By exercising proper oral care at home and staying on top of frequent periodontal maintenance treatments, you will help protect your periodontal health.
What Is Periodontal Maintenance Therapy?
Since periodontal disease is a chronic condition, it is essential to frequently monitor your symptoms to ensure the disease does not reoccur. For patients with a significant amount of periodontal disease, it is recommended to visit your periodontist or dentist every 3 months. Periodontal maintenance is the single most effective treatment to control gum disease.
During this treatment, dental procedures known as scaling and root planing serve to remove plaque, tartar, and calculus from the roots surface, as well as from below the gumline. At home instructions are also given to maintain oral health and prevent disease progression. These sessions are designed to preserve the healthy state of your gums and stabilize your bone levels.
Why Is Periodontal Maintenance Therapy Important?
Although there is no cure, gum disease can be managed and controlled with proper oral care and maintenance. While daily oral hygiene certainly helps to prevent the progression of gum disease, it is important to note that this alone will not ensure the termination of bacterial plaque for good. Despite the most thorough flossing, brushing, and use of oral hygiene aids, dental plaque persists to mature in those hard-to-reach places. The growth and maturation of dental plaque after thorough oral care can develop in just 8-12 weeks, returning to damage to the gums and bone. Because of this, it is highly recommended for patients completing periodontal treatment to schedule maintenance sessions every three months. With routine periodontal maintenance visits, our specialists can closely monitor any differences in patients’ oral health. We will keep you healthy and smiling!
What Is Done During A Periodontal Maintenance Session?
Every patient’s treatment plan is individualized based on the findings from their periodontal maintenance session. During the session, our specialists will examine the mouth for any noticable, abnormal changes. During the examination, the following will be completed:
- Changes in your health will be discussed
- Pockets will be measured — any changes will be noted
- Your oral hygiene will be evaluated — suggestions will be given regarding how to improve oral hygiene if needed
- Your teeth will be cleaned to remove bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar)
- Necessary x-rays may be taken to evaluate the teeth and supporting bone
- Your teeth will be checked for caries (cavities)
- The bite (the way the teeth fit together) will be checked
Once the examination is complete, appropriate recommendations will be given in regards to any problems that are discovered.
How To Keep Your Gums Healthy
If left untreated, gum disease can progress into a more severe stage that affects not only the gum tissue, but also the teeth and supporting bone, Fortunately, gum disease is preventable. By following these tips, healthy gums can be more easily maintained:
- Floss. Flossing is essential to the prevention of gum disease. It is recommended to floss once a day to help remove plaque and food that the toothbrush cannot reach.
- Brush twice a day. Make sure to brush your teeth after every meal to remove any food particle and debris that is trapped between your teeth and gums.
- Dental cleanings. It is advised to have regular dental cleanings once every six months to ensure any symptoms can be treated before they severely progress.
- Avoid or quit smoking completely. Smoking is strongly linked to the onset of gum disease. Because smoking weakens the immune system, it makes it difficult for the body to fight off a gum infection.