Periodontal Disease Is a Common but Fairly Preventable Condition

Mar 01, 2020

An infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place is known as gum disease which is common and affects millions of people throughout the world. Poor brushing and flossing habits are the primary reason for this infection that allows plaque that is a sticky film of bacteria to build upon the teeth and harden. When this condition advances it can lead to soreness in the gums along with bleeding and cause problems when chewing and even tooth loss.

The Causes of Gingivitis or Gum Disease

Our mouths are home to millions of bacteria. The bacteria combine with mucus and other particles to constantly form a colorless layer of plaque on the teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly can help to get rid of the plaque on the teeth. However, when plaque hardens into tartar it cannot be removed unless the procedure is managed by a dentist. A professional dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar with professional cleaning.

A number of risk factors can contribute to the development of gum disease but the most significant among them is smoking. This habit can make the therapy for gum disease less successful. Other risk factors that are also contributing are diabetes, hormonal changes in women and girls, medications that restrict the flow of saliva, genetic susceptibility, illnesses like AIDS and their medications.

What Are the Symptoms of Gingivitis

Symptoms of gum diseases will include the following:

  • Bad breath or halitosis that remains.
  • Tender or bleeding gums.
  • Swollen or red gums.
  • Painful chewing.
  • Sensitive teeth.
  • Loose teeth.
  • Receding gums making the teeth appear longer.

Diagnosis of Periodontal Disease

During a dental visit a dentist or dental hygienist will conduct the following examinations:

  • Examine your gums to notice any signs of inflammation.
  • Use a probe or a tiny ruler to measure any pockets and on the teeth. The depth of the pockets should usually be around 1 to 3 millimeters in a healthy mouth and the test conducted is generally painless.
  • Inquire about your medical history for identifying conditions or risk factors with particular attention being paid to smoking and diabetes that can contribute to gum disease.

The dental professional may also take an x-ray to determine whether a bone loss has occurred and refer you to a periodontist who is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease. He or she may also provide you with treatment options not offered by the dentist.

Types of Gum Disease

There are two types of gum diseases that can affect the gums. They are gingivitis and periodontitis. Both these conditions together are referred to as periodontal disease or gum disease. Gingivitis is the moderate form of this disease which when left untreated can advance to periodontitis. However, this infection can be treated by dentists and periodontists with nonsurgical procedures in most conditions and surgery only being considered in the advanced stages.

The Treatment for Gingivitis

A professional cleaning will ensure that gingivitis gets better if you also practice proper oral hygiene at home. The condition can recur if you are not diligent with the home care recommended can fail to seek professional cleanings twice a year without exceptions. The cleaning is recommended by the dentist to remove all plaque and tartar that may have built up in a process called scaling. If your condition is severe you may need to visit the dentist for four professional cleanings every year. As mentioned earlier if this condition is left untreated it can progress to periodontitis which is more serious and can lead to the destruction of their gums, tissue, teeth, and mouth bones.

The nonsurgical treatments for gingivitis include scaling, root planing, and antibiotics. Scaling is the procedure to remove tartar and bacteria from the teeth and beneath the gums and smoothing out the root surfaces to discourage the further buildup of tartar is known as root planing. Antibiotics may be provided in different forms to control the condition.

Gum Disease Treatment at Home Is Possible

Neglecting proper oral hygiene at home would be the main reason why you may have developed gum disease. The neglect can be corrected by the following:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Flossing every day to remove plaque from between the teeth. You can also use devices like an intra-dental cleaner or a water flosser as recommended by a dental professional.
  • Visit the dentist regularly to check for signs of tooth decay and professional cleaning.
  • Quit smoking.

Gum diseases are entirely preventable if you maintain your at-home dental hygiene practices in proper condition. Ignoring the suggestions made in this article will expose you to the risk of needing extensive treatment from your dentist to treat this entirely preventable condition.