Everyone should understand that periodontal disease is preventable. In the past, it was commonly thought that losing teeth, as you got older, was a natural course of living. Of course, this is incorrect.
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that collect on our teeth every day. If the bacteria are removed at least once every 24 hours, there is no possible way this disease process can begin. In my opinion, there are four critical parts to preventing periodontal disease.
- First, you must remove the plaque from your teeth every day; it’s important to be consistent and remain motivated.
- Second, you need to practice good technique. When you miss certain areas you leave bacteria behind. This yields the same negative results as not cleaning your teeth at all.
- Third, understand that certain teeth and areas of the mouth are high-risk areas that require additional attention and cleaning time. For example, the molar teeth are far in the back of the mouth making it easy to neglect those areas. Each mouth has its own high-risk areas. Your hygienist can help identify those areas and recommend focused, daily home care practices.
- Fourth, professional maintenance and regular check-ups and cleanings. The time between professional cleanings should be quarterly or every three months. The old standard of six-month check-ups has never been accurate nor is it based on scientific data. This is especially true for a person with a history of periodontal disease.
I recommend four specific techniques to remove plaque daily to achieve successful prevention of periodontal disease: flossing, brushing, use of a rubber tip stimulator and a proxy brush (a small brush to clean between the teeth).
There are many oral hygiene products available today including electronic brushing devices, a wide variety of toothpaste, mouthwashes, and other topical dental products. I will be happy to discuss the pros and cons of any of these products at your first visit.
Always remember, *you* can prevent a periodontal problem from beginning. If one already exists, get the proper treatment to remove the infection and then prevent future problems with a good maintenance plan.