Periodontal Maintenance

Taking Good Care of Your Gums

Periodontal diseases are gum infections that gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. Three out of four adults are affected by periodontal disease at some time in their lives; in fact, adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases than to cavities!

While dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease, different gum diseases require different treatment approaches. At Penobscot Bay Dentistry, we work with our patients to develop daily home care brushing and flossing routines that can prevent most periodontal conditions.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by bacterial plaque and can be accelerated by a number of different factors. Plaque is a colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth and sticks to your teeth at the gum line. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into tartar, a rough, porous substance also known as calculus.

Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that hold teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.

Other important factors can also affect the health of your gums:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition

How Can Good Oral Hygiene Prevent Gum Disease?

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.

Regular examinations and cleanings by Dr. Lewis and his staff complement your own thorough daily oral care in helping to prevent periodontal disease.

Unfortunately, even with the most diligent dental care, some people can still develop periodontal disease. If necessary, Dr. Lewis may advise you to seek the added care of a periodontist, a dentist whose specialized knowledge will further help you to prevent the progress of periodontal disease.