The most important element in the road to oral health is YOU! No matter how successful your periodontal treatment has been, it is up to you, in partnership with your periodontist, to maintain periodontal health. There are several things that you can do to help decrease your risk of susceptibility to periodontitis.
First and most importantly, if you are a smoker you can work to QUIT SMOKING! Studies have shown that smoking increases your chance of losing teeth by 700%! Smoking has a myriad of negative affects throughout your body and in your mouth, but paramount of these is delayed wound healing. Luckily, research points out that if you are able to quit, you can restore your healing capabilities and increase your chance of success of all types of oral surgery, including dental implants. Other systemic inflammatory diseases worsen the condition of the gums. Diabetic patients are more susceptible to periodontitis, although level of susceptibility if correlated with the stability of blood sugar, thus if blood sugar levels remain well-controlled and stable the effect is negligible.
Equally as important is maintaining optimal daily plaque control. It is recommended that you brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day and floss daily. There are several places in your mouth that a toothbrush cannot easily reach. However, if you are like most people, flossing is more difficult and is often not performed often enough. This is a problem as typically, periodontitis begins between the teeth in areas that a toothbrush cannot reach. Please see the ORAL HYGIENE section for tips on how to improve your at home care and remember, flossing and cleaning BETWEEN your teeth is key on the road to healthy gums.
Finally, it is up to you to schedule regular periodontal maintenance appointments. The frequency of these visits will be determined by your periodontist and dentist. For most patients with advanced disease, three month maintenance appointments are crucial to maintaining periodontal health.
Thus, you can see that working in partnership with your periodontist, there are several things YOU can do to help reach your goal of healthy gums for a lifetime.