Set of inflammatory medical conditions, affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth is periodontal disease, otherwise called gum disease. As the name suggests, the gums become swollen, red and may also bleed in the early stage of the disease. This stage is called as gingivitis.
It can also happen due to pulling away of gum from the tooth, loss of bone and falling out of teeth; This usually happens in its acute form called periodontitis. Thus all the supporting tissues: the cementum that covers the root, the periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone are affected.
According to the latest research, this gum disease also causes other health problems like,
- Increasing risk of clogged arteries due to gum disease is believed to worsen existing heart disease and also increases the risk of stroke.
- Pregnant ladies having gum disease may deliver the baby too early. This premature baby may be of low birth weight.
- Diabetic patients also suffering from the periodontal disease may face difficulties in controlling their sugar level.
- And last but not the least it also causes lung infections, as the bacteria from the mouth may find their way to lungs and may cause severe pneumonia.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
- The primary cause is inadequate oral hygiene which causes accumulation of a mycotic and bacterial matrix at the gum line, called dental plaque.
- Other causes include microbic plaque accumulation, such as restoration overhangs and root proximity.
- Another factor which contributes to other health hazards is smoking. Smokers have more bone loss, attachment loss and tooth loss in comparison to non-smokers because smoking decreases wound healing and suppresses antibody production.
- Many diseases such as Down syndrome, diabetes, etc. that decreases patient’s resistance to infection, increase the chances for periodontitis.
- Economic status also plays its cards in the game as periodontitis may also be related to higher stress.
- Genetics also play a role; they could explain why some patients with good plaque control have advanced periodontitis, while some others with not so good or poor plaque control are free from the disease.
- Typically, the risk of periodontitis in diabetics is estimated to be between 2-3 times higher. It’s known to involve aspects of inflammation, immune functioning, neutrophil activity and cytokine biology.
Signs And Symptoms Of Periodontal Disease
In many individuals, the disease would have increased before they opt for treatment because there are only a few signs in the initial stages of periodontitis. Some of the symptoms are:
- Redness, bleeding of gums while brushing teeth.
- Swelling of gums.
- Bad breath along with a persistent metallic taste in the mouth.
- Apparent lengthening of teeth due to gingival recession or by rough brushing or with a stiff toothbrush.
- Deep gaps or pockets between the teeth and the gums.
- Loose teeth, in the later stages.
- As gingival inflammation and bone destruction are largely painless people should not treat it as insignificant.
Prevention Of Periodontal Disease
Addition of some of the habits of daily oral hygiene may help you prevent from periodontitis. Below is the list of measures you can take to prevent periodontal diseases:
- Regular and proper brushing of teeth, i.e., at least twice a day.
- Directing the toothbrush bristles under the gum line while brushing for removal of bacterial-mycotic growth and disrupt the formation of subgingival plaque.
- Using antiseptic mouthwash to flush away bacterial matrix and cure gingivitis.
- Using periodontal trays that allow the medication to stay in place.
Treatments for periodontal disease
- Professional cleaning at the dentist’s office.
- Shadi Heidarian, a Palo Alto dentist, highly recommends opting for a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing. This procedure involves removal of tartar, plaque and toxins from above and below the gum line, called scaling. The removal of spots on root surfaces is made smooth, known as planing.
- Pocket reduction procedure: By folding back the gum tissue dentist can remove infectious bacteria and smooth areas of damaged bone, allowing the gum tissue reattach to healthy bone.
- Gum Grafts: Roots that are exposed to gum recession can be covered with gum grafts which reduces sensitivity and protect the roots from decay.
- Regenerative procedures: the surgical procedure that helps the growth of bone in an area where periodontal disease has destroyed the bone.
Oral health and hygiene should not be neglected as it is the cause of many other diseases. You should keep your oral health in check so that you can carry that beautiful smile wherever you go!