What is Periodontal Disease and How to Prevent It

Periodontal Disease

You’ve probably heard of gum disease, but it’s medical name is periodontal disease. It’s a fancy term that dentists like us use to explain infected gums. Periodontal disease has different stages with different levels of treatment.

Periodontal is a combination of “peri” which means “around” and “odontal” which means “teeth.” This name is very appropriate as the disease affects the gums and surrounding tissue in your mouth. Periodontal disease deals with infection located in your gums, periodontal ligament, a root covering called cementum, and the alveolar bone.

Gingivitis

The first stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis. Bleeding and swollen gums are tell-tale signs of gum disease. Many people overlook overly sensitive gums, believing they are just brushing too hard. This is commonly not the case and ignoring these symptoms can worsen the disease, therefore leading to additional treatment. Gingivitis is easily treatable and can be done at a simple trip to the dentist!

Periodontitis

If gingivitis goes untreated, it can progress to periodontitis which is a more severe case of periodontal disease. The bacteria on your gums goes below the surface and affects tissue, requiring more in depth treatment. The disease can destroy the structure of your gums by making them swell which causes your teeth to become loose. If teeth become loose enough, they may require extraction. A little under half of the adults in the US over 30 have advanced gum disease.

Symptoms

You can notice the effects of periodontal disease before it progresses to a severe case. Common symptoms include:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Sensitive gums
  • Pain while chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitivity in your teeth
  • Receding gumline

What Causes Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease begins with plaque accumulation on the surface of your teeth. This bacteria causes your immune system to release substances in response. These substances cause gums to become inflamed and this leads to damage.

This plaque can harden and quickly become tartar which must be removed by a dental professional. Plaque can be removed with simple brushing and flossing, but tartar requires a little more elbow grease.

A number of factors are considered with the root of gum disease. Most often it’s poor dental hygiene. Other factors include genes, smoking and tobacco use, crowded teeth, hormones, poor nutrition, certain medicines, and stress. Lack of vitamin C is a big reason for gum disease!

Periodontal Disease Can Cause Other Problems

Studies have linked periodontal disease to serious health problems. Some of these health problems include heart disease, stroke, premature births, and respiratory disease. Periodontal disease doesn’t just harm the health of your mouth!

How to Prevent Periodontal Disease

Gum disease can be prevented with good oral hygiene practices such as brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. You should also visit your dentist regularly to increase your chances of stopping gum disease before it even develops.

Treatment with Tower Dental Associates

To diagnose gum disease, our team of dental professionals will examine your gums to determine if you have periodontal disease. We will also use a tiny ruler to measure the pockets in your gums. A healthy mouth will have pockets of 1-3 millimeters. We can also take x-rays to further examine your mouth to determine treatment. The goal of the treatment is to control and stop infection.

Contact Tower Dental Associates if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned to get started on your treatment!

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