Periodontal (gum) disease is a pervasive oral health condition that can rob a person of their teeth and overall health if left untreated by professionals. Since gum disease – in its various stages – can affect the health of anyone, our practice provides diagnoses and treatment to members of our community. Whether a person has gingivitis or periodontitis (advanced periodontal disease), we have treatment options to help you get your oral health back on track.
Gum Disease, a Threat to Your Health
Periodontal disease is a major threat to your oral health. One way that gum disease affects your wellbeing is by contributing to tooth loss. Gum disease, if untreated and uncontrolled, will destroy the supportive bonds between gums and teeth and teeth and bone. In its most aggressive forms, periodontal disease can lead to a systemic infection where pathogens might spread to other areas of the body. During the last couple of decades, a wealth of research has been devoted to examining the link between periodontal disease and other conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and stroke. Since periodontal disease can do more than just damage the entire oral health system, preventing this condition and monitoring its development with vigilance are incredibly important.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
The leading cause of gum disease is inadequate oral hygiene. When we fail to brush and floss properly and regularly, harmful substances accumulate on our teeth and gums. As bacteria feed on food particles and colonize, they leave behind a sticky film called plaque. This substance is full of bacteria and coats teeth. Within a couple of days, plaque will harden into tartar when it becomes exposed to calculus. Once plaque hardens into tartar, it cannot be removed with oral hygiene. It must be removed with dental cleaning instruments.
As tartar accumulates, the gums will pull away from teeth and create new space for tartar to form. This cycle of tartar accumulating along the roots of teeth will continue if not addressed with proper treatment. With time, the gums will no longer be able to support teeth and tartar buildup around the roots of teeth will cause them to loosen – eventually falling out. Other causes include health conditions like diabetes and hormonal fluctuations. Lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking also contribute to periodontal disease.
For early stage periodontal disease, patients might be advised to conduct more thorough oral hygiene and receive more frequent dental cleanings. If periodontal pockets have formed or more advanced gum disease is detected, periodontal therapy will be recommended. Periodontal therapy involves removing tartar accumulation deep within the gums and along the roots of teeth through a process called scaling. After tartar is removed, the roots of teeth are then smoothed through a procedure called planing. Scaling and root planing are performed together through a gradual process. Other treatment options may include the use of antibiotics and prescription mouth rinses.
If you suspect you have gum disease, call our office today to schedule an appointment.
Periodontal disease means that the gums are infected and inflamed. This condition is one of the most destructive and common oral health diseases. In fact, about 80% of adults will develop some form of gum disease in their lifetime. Periodontal disease is aggressive in its most advanced forms; it can destroy the gingiva and its ability to support teeth as well as bone tissue. This condition is the primary culprit behind adult tooth loss as well.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease and normally begins when the gums become irritated and inflamed by substances like tartar or by hormonal fluctuations. Unlike advanced periodontal disease, gingivitis is reversible with treatment and vigilant oral hygiene.
Symptoms of gum disease vary depending on its stage and severity. In the beginning, gum disease might not produce symptoms that are noticeable to a patient. For those who do notice symptoms, however, the most common one is seeing blood on one’s toothbrush or dental floss. The gums may bleed even more with advanced gum disease. Other symptoms include swollen and tender gums, persistent bad breath, a receding gum line/visible tooth roots, and purple or deep red lesions on the gingiva.
If you notice that your gums are bleeding, you should continue to brush and floss as normal. Be sure to brush and floss gently but thoroughly. When you notice bleeding gums, it is a good idea to call our office and schedule a checkup with our dentist. At your appointment, we can determine if you have gum disease and determine the best course of action for treatment and improving your oral health. If we detect signs of gum disease, our main objective is to prevent the condition from worsening with professional treatment.
Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be caused by a few different things. Many times, bad breath is the result of poor oral hygiene. When we do not brush or floss properly, bacteria will colonize and feed on food particles. Bacteria and its byproduct can cause bad breath. Other causes of bad breath include gum disease, decaying/abscessed teeth, dry mouth, certain foods or the use of tobacco products.
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