The right treatment for periodontal disease can save your teeth

Bacteria are naturally found in our mouth. In younger, healthy individuals, that isn’t a problem; their immune systems keep bacteria in check to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. However as we age, we become more susceptible to bacteria, causing gums to recede and bones to deteriorate to the point they may no longer support our teeth. That’s known as periodontal disease, which can occur at any age but is generally most prevalent in people who are 50 years of age or older, have a family history of periodontal disease, or are suffering from immune compromised conditions, such as diabetes, cancer and others.

As it turns out, teeth are important to overall health, not just your smile. The loss of your teeth affects much more than just your appearance; it creates a variety of functional concerns – like being unable to maintain adequate nutrition because you’re not eating properly. However, even if you suffer from periodontal disease, tooth loss is not inevitable. A specialist who treats complicated dental issues can guide you through a number of steps that can help preserve your gums and teeth.


Cartoon with check mark

  • be proactive
  • brush and floss regularly
  • maintain adequate nutrition
  • get technical
  • see a specialist if you smoke/drink

Cartoon with x mark

  • ignore early warning signs
  • fear the doctor
  • assume general dentistry is enough
  • fly by the seat of your pants
  • wait for a referral

[publishpress_authors_data]'s recommendation to ExpertBeacon readers: Do

Do be proactive

Make it part of your routine to see a gum specialist regularly, especially after the age of 50 or if you have a health condition that could increase bacterial infections and periodontal disease. To reduce the bacterial load, visit a periodontal specialist for regular “under-the-gum” cleanings that remove much of the bacteria. After two-to-three months, bacteria will return and colonize again in your mouth and in your gum pockets, so it’s important to see the gum specialist every three-to-four months for follow-up deep cleanings and exams.

Do brush and floss regularly

Maintaining good oral health is vital to the overall health of your body. Brushing and flossing regularly helps reduce the amount of bacteria in and around your teeth and in the mouth. Scraping your tongue also helps reduce the bacterial load and offers the added benefit of fighting bad breath. Tip: inverting a kitchen spoon and using it to scrape your tongue does the trick!

Do maintain adequate nutrition

A consistent, healthy diet strengthens your body and helps you fight diseases, including periodontal disease. Tooth loss is correlated with a decrease in nutritional intake. The stronger your immune system, the better your body will be able to fight off the ill effects that bacteria cause. Yet another reason why overall health begins with the mouth!

Do get technical

Advanced technology products are readily available at pharmacies, drug stores – even grocery stores – that can help maintain good oral health. There’s even a new App for that! Electronic toothbrushes that sync with smartphone applications are a great way to monitor or improve your routine mouth care efforts and ensure that you’re getting the most efficient oral care possible. Taking advantage of enhanced oral technologies will give you a better chance to stave off the effects of periodontal disease.

Do see a specialist if you smoke/drink

Smokers and people who enjoy frequent alcoholic beverages potentially face a higher risk of suffering tooth and gum disease. Both habits can damage your immune system. To what extent depends on your body make-up and how much of either you consume. Heavy drinkers or smokers, in particular, should see a dental specialist regularly as a preventive measure. Even casual users may want to visit a specialist to ensure they’re not promoting periodontal disease.

[publishpress_authors_data]'s professional advice to ExpertBeacon readers: Don't

Do not ignore early warning signs

Bleeding, swollen gums and loose teeth are early signs of periodontal disease. Even if they aren’t painful, they are your body’s way of telling you there is a problem you need to address. Periodontal disease is considered a “silent disease;” you may not feel its effects until it’s too late. That’s why it’s important to always be aware and don’t wait until you are experiencing pain to visit a specialist for an examination.

Do not fear the doctor

Many people avoid dentists or dental specialists because they are afraid of them. Or, they are afraid of what they might learn. But ignoring an emerging problem just postpones treatment until it’s more complex, expensive and, possibly, painful. Better to treat issues early, before they become bigger problems. Aside from doing the best you can at home to maintain good oral health, it’s important to make sure you seek professional help to ensure total mouth care.

Do not assume general dentistry is enough

Many people think visiting their regular dentist a few times a year is enough. General dentists deal with oral care above the gum line; periodontists specialize below the gum line, where the bacteria grows. Even if your hygiene is perfect above the gum line, it doesn’t help below the gum line, where all the bacterial action is. Getting exams from a gum specialist who treats complicated dental issues should be part of your regular oral care.

Do not fly by the seat of your pants

You need a plan to ensure you’re properly managing and treating your teeth and gums. Work with a dental specialist to develop a comprehensive oral health plan that extends to overall body health, where applicable – then stick to that plan. If you know what to expect, and you’re covering all your oral health care bases, you’re more likely to prevent periodontal disease or, at the very least, catch problems early, when they’re more easily treated.

Do not wait for a referral

They’re your teeth and gums; be proactive and give them the best care possible. Rather than waiting for your general dentist to refer you to a specialist, make it part of your routine to get regular periodontal examinations and cleanings. In fact, making a specialist an integral part of your oral care often is the best course of action for anyone susceptible to periodontal disease.


If you have periodontal disease, you’re at risk of losing your teeth to deteriorating bone and receding gums. The oral care treatment you require extends beyond what your general dentist offers. You need the “total mouth care” that only a gum specialist who routinely manages complicated dental issues can provide. With proper care, management and treatment, you can maintain your natural teeth and a healthy smile for a lifetime.

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