Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is mainly caused by bacteria from plaque and tartar build up. Other factors that have the potential to cause gum disease may include:
Clenching or grinding your teeth
Types of Gum Disease Include:
Gingivitis - The beginning stage of gum disease and is often undetected. This stage of the disease is reversible.
Periodontitis - Untreated gingivitis may lead to this next stage of gum disease. With many levels of periodontitis, the common outcome is chronic inflammatory response, a condition when the body breaks down the bone and tissue in the infected area of the mouth, ultimately resulting in tooth and bone loss.
There are four basic steps to caring for teeth and gums: brushing, flossing, eating right, visiting the dentist.
Brush at least twice a day. If you can, brush after every meal. Brushing removes plaque, a film of bacteria that clings to teeth. When bacteria in plaque come into contact with food, they produce acids. These acids lead to cavities. To brush:
Place a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste on the head of the toothbrush. (Use a soft toothbrush.)
Place the toothbrush against the teeth at a 45-degree angle to the gum line.
Move the brush across the teeth using a small circular motion. Continue with this motion cleaning one tooth at a time. Keep the tips of the bristles against the gum line. Avoid pressing so hard that the bristles lie flat against the teeth. (Only the tips of the toothbrush clean the teeth.) Let the bristles reach into spaces between teeth.
Brush across the top of the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Make sure the bristles get into the groves and crevices.
Use the same small circular motion to clean the backside of the upper and lower teeth -- the side that faces the tongue.
To clean the inside of the bottom front teeth, angle the head in an up-and-down position toward the bottom inside of the mouth and move the toothbrush in a small circle.
Visit your dentist at least once every six months. To maintain healthy teeth and gums, it's important to have regular check-ups and professional cleanings. You should also see your dentist if you have pain in your teeth or mouth or bleeding, swollen gums.
You can also ask your dentist about dental sealants if you need dental equipment to cure. Sealant is a material used to coat the top, chewing surfaces of the teeth. This coating protects the tooth from decay and usually lasts a long time.