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Dental Health and Food: Learning to Eat Better

My intense love for candy, cakes, and everything in between started as a child. I simply couldn't go one day without something sweet to eat. But my love for all things sweet took a toll on my teeth. My dentist diagnosed me with seven cavities, each one a different size and depth. After sitting through four long dental appointments, I decided to make a change. I now monitor my diet and only eat things that benefit my oral health. I'm here to help you take better care of your teeth. My blog offers tips on how to improve your diet, maintain good oral hygiene, and many other topics. Hopefully, you can learn to overcome your bad habits just as I did. Good luck with your future dental health.


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Dental Health and Food: Learning to Eat Better

What You Should Know About Treatments For Your Periodontitis

by Eric Bailey

Gum disease is a common dental disease. In the early stages, it is a reversible condition, but if it progresses to periodontitis, there is no cure. If you have periodontitis, however, there are many treatments available to help improve the disease and treat many of the symptoms. Check out these five common treatments for periodontitis.

Deep Cleanings Help Reduce Bacteria and Inflammation

Tartar, plaque and bacteria irritate your gums, which causes inflammation. If you have periodontitis, you need professional deep dental cleanings, which include scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing are special procedures that treat teeth below the gum line. With healthy gums, you don't need to worry about cleaning below the gum line because your gums are flush against your teeth, preventing debris from collecting. People with periodontitis, however, have pockets or gaps between the teeth and gums. This is a perfect spot for bacteria and plaque to hide. Scaling refers to actually removing the plaque and tartar. Root planing is a process that smooths rough patches on the teeth.

Flap Surgery Reduces Pockets

As long as you continue to have pockets, your teeth will continue to hoard bacteria and plaque, and it's difficult to clean those pockets at home. Flap surgery is a procedure designed to remove or reduce the size of the gaps. The dentist uses a scalpel to surgically remove your gums from your teeth. While the roots are exposed, a deep cleaning is performed to eliminate any plaque or tartar. Once the area is clean, your gums are put back, but the dentist ensures they are flush against the teeth to remove or reduce any pockets.

Soft Tissue Grafts Replace Lost Gum Tissue

Gum disease can actually destroy gum tissue. As more and more tissue is destroyed, your tooth roots become exposed. Not only does this make your teeth look longer, but it also increases the chance of severe decay. Normally, the part of the tooth you see is protected by enamel, but tooth roots don't have enamel, which means they are more susceptible to plaque, tartar and bacteria. A soft tissue graft allows the dentist to use gum tissue from another part of your mouth to cover and protect these exposed roots. 

Bone Grafts Replace Lost Bone Tissue

Gum disease doesn't just destroy gum tissue. It destroys bone tissue too. When left untreated, the gum disease causes your jawbone to lose density, which causes your teeth to become loose. Like a soft tissue graft, a bone graft uses bone from another part of your body to strengthen the jawbone again. Sometimes, the bone is taken from another part of your mouth, but if the dentist needs a lot of bone, it may need to come from another part of your body, such as your hip. In other cases, the dentist may use synthetic bone or bone from a cadaver for the bone graft.

Antibacterial Medications May Be Necessary

Antibacterial medications are a great way to help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth to prevent inflammation. When you get flap surgery or scaling and root planing, it is common for the dentist to apply an antibiotic gel or chips directly in your gums. In other cases, the dentist may prescribe an antimicrobial mouthwash, which you use in place of your regular mouthwash. Oral antibiotics are also used to help fight acute flair ups.

There is no cure for periodontitis, but there are treatments to keep the symptoms at bay. If you have severe gum disease, don't ignore it. Contact a dentist in your area today to schedule a deep cleaning and learn what you can do at home to reduce your gum disease symptoms.