Individuals can act in various ways to help prevent periodontitis, also known as periodontal disease. These include good oral hygiene, regular dental checkups and appropriate lifestyle changes.
For the prevention of gingivitis and periodontitis, it is recommended for individuals to brush their teeth at least twice each day. If possible, brushing after every meal may help to decrease the risk of the disease even further.
It is important that the toothbrush used is replaced on a regular basis to prevent the growth of bacteria on the brush. At the very least, it should be changed for a fresh one every three to four months.
A soft toothbrush is usually preferable to a harder toothbrush for people at risk of the disease, as a harder brush can worsen initial symptoms and cause the gums to bleed. An electric toothbrush may be preferable to remove tough plaque and tartar from around the teeth.
Periodontitis is a inflammatory diseases affecting the periodontium, the tissues that surround and support the teeth. Image Credit: Designua / Shutterstock
It is essential for flossing to be a part of the daily dental care regime for optimal prevention of periodontal disease. Many people rely on tooth brushing alone when, in reality, it is difficult for a toothbrush to reach fine places, such as the grooves in between the teeth.
Instead, it is recommended to floss the teeth once a day. The floss can pass through difficult to reach areas to remove plaque and bacteria, thus helping to protect the individual from periodontitis.
Other Cleaning Techniques
The are various other techniques to keep the teeth clean that may be needed in some circumstances, in addition to teeth brushing and flossing. These may include the use of:
- A mouth rinse to reduce plaque between the teeth
- Dental pick, interdental brush or dental stick to clean between the teeth
- Professional cleaning at a dentist
It is helpful for patients to schedule regular dentist appointments so that a professional can monitor their dental health and recommendations can be made, if necessary. For most people, an appointment once a year is sufficient, although people with an increased risk of periodontitis may benefit from more frequent visits.
This is particularly important for people with misaligned or crowded teeth, or those who have braces or bridges. These things can make it more difficult than usual for individuals to clean their teeth by simple brushing and flossing, thus increasing their risk of periodontitis. Often, alternative ways to keep the teeth clean may be recommended for each individual.
Smoking and the use of tobacco are linked to an increased risk of developing periodontitis and more severe symptoms for those who are affected. People who smoke tend to have a greater build up of tartar on their teeth, which can lead to infection and periodontitis. Therefore, it is recommended that they quit smoking to help prevent periodontal disease.
Stress is another factor that can worsen periodontal disease and make it more difficult to treat. This is because it weakens the immune system of the body making it more difficult to fight off the bacteria in plaque. Therefore, eliminating or reducing stressful situations in daily life can help to prevent periodontitis.
Additionally, women with significant hormonal changes, such as those going through pregnancy or menopause, have an increased risk of the condition. Therefore, it is recommended that these women pay greater attention to the health of their teeth.
Reviewed by Liji Thomas, MD