Healthy gums are essential for healthy teeth. Periodontal disease, also called Periodontitis, is a very serious gum infection that is the biggest cause of tooth loss in people over 40. However, periodontal treatment, through at-home care and by your dental provider, helps to remove harmful bacteria from the gums and aims to prevent further infection.
Periodontal gum diseases may be as mild as inflammation to as severe as bone and tissue damage which could lead to tooth loss. Practicing good oral hygiene — daily brushing and flossing — is the best way to prevent gum disease. Bacteria builds up as plaque, which you can remove at home with brushing. When your brushing is less than ideal, the plaque can harden into tartar, which requires professional cleaning to remove. If that isn’t done in a timely manner, it may lead to gingivitis, which is bleeding and inflammation of the gums. Although gingivitis is usually reversible, if left untreated, it can develop into periodontitis.
In periodontitis, the infection spreads to the gum line and below the teeth. It can affect the bones and tissues anchoring the teeth. It may also lead to teeth having to be treated with periodontal surgery. This may include deep root planing, and in worst case scenarios, extractions.
Stress, diabetes, smoking, and illness are all risk factors making patients more susceptible to periodontitis. Medications prescribed to you may also have an effect, particularly anti-depressants and heart medications. Just as with many diseases, your genetic makeupalso plays a big role. Though it is uncommon for those under 30 to develop periodontitis, it is important to take steps to decrease your risk. Brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing, scheduling dental check-up appointments, avoiding tobacco products, and eating a healthy diet can all lower your chances of periodontitis. Bleeding of the gums, tender or swollen gums, pain when chewing, and constant bad breath are all warning signs of periodontitis. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your dentist and dental hygienist.
The most common periodontal disease treatment is a deep cleaning targeting above and below the gum line. It removes the bacteria and stops the bacteria from spreading further into the gums. After periodontal treatment in the office, it is imperative to practice proper oral hygiene care at home.