What is Periodontal Disease?
The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Healthy gum tissue fits like a cuff around each tooth. Where the gum line meets the tooth it forms a slight v-shaped crevice called the sulcus. In healthy teeth this space is usually 3 millimeters or less. Periodontal disease is an infection that affects the tissue and the bone that supports the teeth. As the tissues are damaged the sulcus develops into a pocket that is greater than 3 millimeters. Generally the more severe the disease the greater the pocket depth and bone loss.
What causes Periodontal Disease?
Plaque includes a film of bacteria that attaches to teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque causes irritation of the tissue that supports your teeth. This irritation can lead to chronic inflammation, bleeding, and infection that can destroy your gums and bone tissue. Plaque that is not completely removed may harden into a rough porous deposit called tartar or calculus. This allows more plaque to form and make it more difficult to remove. The only way to remove it is to have a cleaning from your dental office.
How does Periodontal Disease develop?
Affected gum areas become increasingly red. They may appear swollen and may bleed easily. Periodontitis can irreversibly damage the gums, bone, and other structures that support the teeth and can lead to teeth loss. Research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal diseases and other health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, and increased risk in pregnancy.
Types of Periodontal Disease?
There are many types of periodontal disease and they can affect individuals at all ages from children to seniors.
- Gingivitis- causes the gums to be red swollen and bleed easily, there is usually no discomfort at this stage and it’s reversible with help from your dentist.
- Chronic Periondontitis- results of inflammation within supporting tissues of the teeth. Progressive loss of tissue attachments and bone. Characterized by pocket formation and gum recession.
- Aggressive Periodontists- is a highly destructive form. Common features include rapid loss of tissue attachments and destruction of bone.
- Necrotizing Periodontal Disease- Death of gingival tissue, periodontal ligaments and alveolar bone. Lessions are most commonly associated with pain, bleeding and foul odor.
Are you at risk?
- Several factor increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Systemic disease- such as diabetes, blood cell disorder, HIV infections and AIDS.
- Many medications such as steroids some, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure drugs, and oral contraceptives.
- Bridges that may no longer fit properly. Crooked, crowed teeth or fillings that have become defective.
- Puberty, pregnancy.
- Genetics may play a role.
- May even be past from parents to children and between couples. It can be past from saliva.
It’s possible having periodontal disease without apparent symptoms, however, there are warning signs that you can detect:
- Gums that bleed easily.
- Red swollen or tender gums.
- Gingival recession.
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste.
- Pus between teeth and gums.
- Loose or separating teeth.
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
- A change of fit in partial dentures.
- Exposed tooth root.
A good brushing routine practice for a few minutes twice a day can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease and tooth decay. Clean between teeth once a day with dental floss or another interdental cleaner. If you need extra help controlling ginigivitis and plaque to form above the gum line., your dentist may recommend using an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Eat a balance diet for good general health and limit snacks. Contact us today to schedule your regular cleaning.