Periodontal disease is caused by bacterial infection. In its early stages, it is called gingivitis and almost always is both preventable and reversible. In a recent National Institute of Health survey, 47 percent of the males and 37 percent of females aged 18-64 exhibited some form of gingival bleeding. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease, which affects the gum tissue, bone and supporting tissues of the teeth.
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Bad taste in mouth
- Calculus (brown, hard deposits) on tooth surfaces
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender gums
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Pus around teeth and gums
Dental hygienists recommend visiting your oral health care provider regularly; practicing consistent and thorough oral hygiene everyday, eating nutritionally balanced meals, and avoiding smoking and chewing tobacco.
The hectic pace of today's adult lifestyle often leaves little time for the daily oral health care routine needed to prevent cavities and periodontal disease. This is unfortunate since periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. An estimated 75% of North Americans reportedly have some form of periodontal disease.
Early detection of periodontal disease reduces the risk of permanent damage to teeth and gums and can prevent more extensive and costly treatment in later years. Regular professional visits, every six months or as scheduled by your dental hygienist, will help you learn more about proper care for your teeth and gums.
Regular professional visits are important because gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal disease, is usually painless; you may not be able to detect it on your own.
Learn more about gum and periodontal disease....
The term "Periodontal disease", better known as "gum disease", affects the gums, teeth and the bone supporting the teeth.
Although a majority of the population in North America suffers from periodontal disease, surprisingly few people, less than 10 percent, receive treatment for this serious problem. Unfortunately, if Periodontal disease left untreated can lead to teeth loss, pain, severe infections and other health problems. Good news is there is Treatment, there is cure for this health threatening condition especially if gum disease diagnosed in early stages. Don't forget "Best treatment is Prevention".
Causes of Periodontal Disease
The mouth provides fertile terrain for bacteria, which continually accumulate as plaque on teeth and gums. If the plaque is not removed, it grows to a hard, rough and porous deposit. Toxins in the bacterial plaque attack the teeth and gums.
Progressively, the bacterial toxins destroy the tissues that support the teeth. Pockets form between the gum and the teeth and these pockets fill with more plaque. The gums recede and teeth become discolored. The toxins eventually destroy the bone structure that holds the teeth in place, causing further complications.
Smoking is a contributing factor to periodontal disease. Smoke damages gums making them more susceptible to bacterial toxins. Smokers are five times more likely than nonsmokers to have gum disease.
Other factors that could influence dental health include, stress, changes is hormone levels and diabetes.
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Stage 1: Gingivitis
- Gums become red/swollen, or may bleed easily
(These symptoms can be reversed by proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups)
Stage 2: Early periodontitis
- Pockets form as the gums separate from the teeth
- Cleanings by your dental professional and thorough home care can stop or slow down this process
Stage 3: Moderate periodontitis
- Pockets deepen and more bone supporting the tooth is lost
- Your dental professional must use special techniques to clean the pockets of bacteria
Stage 4: Advanced periodontitis
- 50% or more of the bone supporting the tooth has been lost and pockets are very deep.
- Professional treatment and proper home care can help, but your dental professional must use special techniques to replace lost bone.
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Inflamed and sore gums provide the first signs of the onset of periodontal disease. The toxins in oral bacteria irritate the gums making them tender and causing them to swell. In this condition, brushing, flossing and irritation by foods can cause bleeding. The build-up of plaque and bacteria also causes foul breath.
In more advanced stages the gums recede; teeth become discolored and loose; chewing can be painful; and the appearance of the smile changes noticeably. If gum disease is not treated, the teeth will eventually fall out.
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Professional cleaning is also essential. Dental health professionals perform complete examinations and can easily detect early signs of periodontitis. Plaque and larger hardened deposits of plaque called calculus can be removed by dentists and hygienists.
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Scaling and Root Planing (SRP)
Using techniques known as scaling and root planing, a dental professional removes plaque buildup from the teeth and from any pockets around them. The gums are pulled back from the teeth to give access to the infected areas. To reduce pain, patients receive an anesthetic to allow the work below the gum line.
For advanced cases, more invasive treatment is necessary. The periodontist must go deeper to the roots of the teeth to remove plaque and calculus. Root surfaces are smoothed (root planing) and gum tissue is repaired
After these treatments, a strict regimen of daily care is prescribed.
Surgery may be necessary for advanced stages of periodontal disease to bring the disease under control and to prevent further progression. The dental professional will reduce the depth of periodontal pockets and restore healthy bone tissue.
Sustained-release of antimicrobial agents have been shown to have a positive effect when used in addition to thorough cleaning.
Antimicrobials can be introduced by either systemic administration or local drug delivery.
Since the antimicrobial agent needs to reach the infecting bacteria, the antimicrobial needs to be retained and released into the periodontal pocket in an effective concentration.
Sustained release antibiotic gels have the advantage of filling the periodontal pocket so that the product conforms to the root morphology, effectively reaching all areas of the pocket. Gel formulations of locally delivered antimicrobials are quickly and painlessly administered by a dental professional.
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Medical research has shown again and again that the body works as a system. Health problems that at first seem unrelated have been found to have connections. Recently, studies have shown connections between poor oral health and problems elsewhere in the body.
Research indicates that people with diabetes are more at risk for developing periodontal disease than the general population.
Like other complications of diabetes, gum disease is linked to diabetic control. Good diabetic control is the best protection against periodontal disease. Bacteria thrive on the type of sugar that is linked to diabetes - glucose. When diabetes is poorly controlled, high glucose levels in the mouth help germs grow and provide ideal conditions for gum disease. People with poor blood sugar control get gum disease more often and lose more teeth than do persons with good diabetic control. People whose diabetes is well controlled have no more periodontal disease than persons without diabetes.
Medical research studies show that people with periodontal disease are likely to be more at risk for heart disease. Studies have found that people with gum disease have a 25 percent increase in the risk of heart disease compared to those with healthy gums.
The reasons why are not exactly clear, according to scientists. But study results are strong enough to warrant publication in respected medical journals. One study suggests that gum disease might lead to repeated contact between bacteria and the blood stream, which could have an impact on blood fats, cholesterol and clotting factors. Another possibility is that bacteria might cause problems by escaping directly into the blood stream.
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