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How does brushing my teeth stop periodontal disease and plaque?

Periodontal disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film that can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque contains bacteria that produce harmful toxins. If teeth are not cleaned well, the toxins can irritate and inflame the gums. You can help prevent plaque and periodontal disease by brushing your teeth twice a day and floss daily.

Brushing your teeth can help to stop periodontal disease and plaque on a regular basis. By brushing your teeth, you remove plaque off your teeth, inhibiting the development of periodontal disease. Dentists also recommend using fluoride in your daily dental care to avoid periodontal disease and plaque.

Proper brushing mechanically removes plaque from the teeth. It consists of using a soft bristle tooth brush and brushing from the gum to the tooth on the front and back of the teeth. The tops of the teeth are brushed in a back and forth motion. The sides of the teeth are cleaned with dental floss. Plaque left on the teeth causes the gums to swell which is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. If the plaque has hardened, which is called calculus, it must be removed by a dental professional. If gingivitis is not treated by removing plaque and calculus, it will lead to the later stages of periodontal disease which involve the destruction of the surrounding bone. This can lead to loose teeth and the loss of teeth. Periodontal disease must be treated by a dental professional. If you suspect that you have periodontal disease, see your dentist.

A biofilm builds up daily on the gum line. If this biofilm is not removed, it will lead to a calcification commonly known as dental plaque. The plaque is like a reef in the ocean, an ecological environment where bacteria grows and multiplies. The plaque will create an inflammation to the surrounding tissue and leads to resorption of the supporting bone surrounding the roots. Left unchecked, this inflammation will continue and lead to more bone destruction which eventually leads to loss of the tooth. It is very essential to maintain proper home care to reduce the plaque build-up. Also, it is essential for every adult to be seen by a periodontist regularly. I suggest alternating your cleaning visits with your general dentist to eliminate the plaque buildup completely with a 3 month recall visits.

Periodontal disease can be avoided by regular brushing of the teeth twice a day, along with flossing once a day, to remove unhealthy plaque that sticks to the teeth. If plaque is not brushed off regularly, it can build up and result in tartar (calculus), which can cause gum disease (gingivitis) and periodontal disease, resulting in infected and weak teeth. Good dental hygiene is vital to prevent gum disease and tooth loss.

Periodontal disease is a multi-factorial disease. One of the major factors is Oral Hygiene. (Other factors are smoking, parafunction, genetics). A good oral hygiene regimen (brushing twice a day and flossing) is imperative in stopping periodontal disease from progressing. On a daily basis there is plaque build-up on teeth. Plaque is comprised of bacteria, bacterial by-products, and food that build up on teeth. If this plaque is not removed it will cause inflammation of gum tissue. Furthermore, long standing plaque will begin to harden and turn into tartar or calculus. The toxins that are released will damage the underlying supporting structure which leads to periodontal disease. If left untreated, eventually there could be so much destruction of the underlying bone and supporting structure that the teeth become loose and cannot be saved. There is nothing like our God given teeth. Take care of them properly and they can last you a lifetime.

Carol Jahn
Dentist

Brushing removes plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gums and can help keep your mouth healthy. However, it may not be enough to stop periodontal disease. Between the teeth, where a toothbrush cannot reach is generally the place periodontal disease first starts. To cleanse plaque from this area, you will need to use dental floss, a toothpick, interproximal brush or a Water Flosser. Contrary to popular belief, dental floss is not superior to other products, and is often challenging to use. It is better to find a product that you like and can easily use for effective daily cleaning.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.