Periodontitis (commonly referred to as ‘gum disease’) is a chronic infection that affects the gums and the bones that support the teeth. Bacteria and the body’s own immune system break down the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place. If left untreated, the result is sore, bleeding gums, painful chewing problems, and in some cases, tooth loss.
Causes of Gum Disease
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, form a sticky and colorless plaque on teeth. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form tartar that brushing or flossing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dental hygienist can remove tartar.
The most significant risk factor for gum disease is smoking. Smoking can also make any treatment for periodontal disease less successful. Other risk factors for gum disease include:
-Hormonal changes in girls and women
-Medications that lessen the flow of saliva
-Certain illnesses, such as AIDS.
While you can alleviate the risks and causes by employing proper dietary protocol and stress relief measures, working with your dentist or physician in cases of advanced diseases need significant attention.
The Symptoms of Periodontitis
The following are indications that you might have gum disease and a dental evaluation is mandatory:
-Red or swollen gums
-Persistent bad breath
-Receding gums that expose teeth appearing longer in shape
After you have noticed any of the above symptoms, your dentist or dental hygienist will give a diagnosis that may include the following:
1. An examination of your gums to note any signs of inflammation.
2. Going over your medical history to identify conditions or risk factors that may contribute to gum disease.
3. The use of a tiny ruler called a ‘probe’ to check for and measure any pockets around the teeth. In a healthy mouth, the depth of these pockets is a strong indicator of periodontal disease. This test for pocket disease is typically pain-free.
4. An x-ray to determine whether there is any bone loss.
What Steps You Can Take As a Patient
Maintaining proper oral health of your teeth and gums is a lifelong choice. Some helpful tips include:
-Brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste.
-Flossing regularly to remove leftover food particles that can get trapped between teeth. This helps to alleviate any plaque buildup.
-Regular visits and checkups with your dentist and dental hygienist. Their professional cleanings and evaluations are pivotal in helping with gum disease.
Now that you are more aware of the ins and outs of periodontal disease, Dr. Conness and his dedicated team of hygienists are ready to help in every way possible. Our team wants to ensure your oral health is topnotch and your smile is perfect in every way. Give our office a call to make certain your teeth and gums are at their best!