We’ve been told over and over to “brush our teeth after every meal” if we want to keep our teeth healthy and in our mouths for life! But there is so much more to keeping our teeth healthy! Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection that affects the very structures that surround our teeth – gum tissue and tooth-supporting bone. Plaque and calculus (tartar) below the gum line is the main cause of periodontal disease. In the most severe cases, if allowed to spread, periodontal disease can result in the loss of teeth. Proper brushing and flossing go a long way to keep our mouths healthy, but regular checkups and professional cleanings with a trained dental hygienist are, by far, the best ways to prevent gum disease.
Once detected, there are several forms of therapy that can be utilized restore health to the tissues and prevent tooth loss. The most common form of therapy is a non-surgical deep-cleaning technique. The hygienist uses hand scalers or ultrasonic instruments to remove the plaque and calculus below the gum line. Often times, this type of deep cleaning will include a local anesthetic or nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help keep the patient comfortable.
Of course, a healthy diet low in sugar and staying away from any form of tobacco will also contribute to your periodontal health and the health of your teeth!