Periodontal Care & Gum Disease
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the supporting tissues around your teeth. These tissues include the gums, the root, the periodontal ligament and the bone. In the early stages of the disease, infection only affects the gums and is commonly known as gingivitis. In the late stages, all the surrounding structures are affected.
What are some of the signs of periodontal disease?
- Red and swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Loose or sensitive teeth
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Receding gums and shaky teeth
What causes periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is mainly caused by a build-up of bacteria in dental plaque, as well as tartar, which is hardened plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up when foods rich in carbohydrates, such as sugars and starches, are left on the teeth. To get rid of the bacteria, your immune system releases substances that end up damaging the gums, the root, the periodontal ligament, and the bone. This leads to bleeding and swollen gums, a sign of gingivitis. Further damage results in the teeth becoming loose, a sign of periodontal disease.
What are some risk factors that contribute to periodontal disease?
- Smoking: Smoking is one of the leading risk factors for the development of periodontal disease. Also, smoking can lower the chances of successful treatment.
- Hormonal Changes in Women: Hormonal changes, particularly during pregnancy, can make gums more sensitive, making it easier for gingivitis to develop.
- Diabetes: People who have diabetes are more likely to develop infections in their gums.
- Other Illnesses and Treatments: Conditions like AIDS and cancer — and their treatments — can negatively affect the health of gums.
- Genetic Susceptibility: Some people are more likely to develop gum disease than others due to their genetic predisposition.
Who is at risk of getting periodontal disease?
Most people don’t show any signs of periodontal disease until they reach the age of 30 or 40. Men are more likely to develop the disease than women, and teenagers rarely get periodontitis. However, they can develop gingivitis. Most commonly, periodontal disease develops when plaque builds up along and under the gum to an extent where it compromises the structures around the teeth.
How is periodontal disease treated?
Our oral health care professionals remove the plaque using a deep-cleaning method called scaling. Scaling involves scouring off the plaque above and calculus/tartar under the gum. Medications may also be used along with scaling. Depending on how far the disease has progressed, the dentist may recommend surgical treatment. All treatments require the patient to maintain good levels of hygiene at home.
How can you prevent periodontal disease?
You can prevent periodontal disease by maintaining high standards of oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly. Regular dental cleaning visits are important in order to detect gum disease in its earliest stages. We recommend that most patients see a dental hygienist at least once every three to six months. Gingivitis can be treated with non-surgical methods such as thorough cleanings, topical application of disinfectant, or prescription mouthwash. Advanced gum disease may require surgery to repair gums and remove all traces of infection.
For more information or to book an appointment, contact a Dental Choice clinic near you. We’re here to help.