Pain, redness, and inflammation. These three symptoms are no stranger to anyone who has experienced an infection, and periodontal disease is no different.
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease is an infection of the gums which surround the teeth. When you don’t take care of your teeth and slack off when it comes to your daily oral cleaning routine, you allow harmful bacteria to build-up in your mouth and this is one of the main causes of periodontal disease.
As with many other diseases, periodontal disease ranges in severity, starting with the early stage of the disease known as gingivitis, which can progress to the more severe stage of the disease known as periodontitis.
If periodontal disease is not detected and treated early, it can quickly damage the soft tissue in your mouth. If you feel pain and are suffering from inflamed gums, a periodontist can help you treat your disease and restore the health of your teeth and gums.
Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis
When excessive bacteria build up on and around your teeth, this can lead to plaque formation and can begin to cause mild inflammation of the gums known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is a common problem among teenagers, who sometimes have difficulty keeping up with their oral hygiene.
This early stage of gum infection is the mildest type of all periodontal disease. Gingivitis is not always easy to detect because its signs are not always visible, and therefore can progress to periodontitis without being detected. However, when symptoms of gingivitis are present, they include:
- Redness of the gum margins
- Bleeding from the gums during brushing
- Swelling of the gums
Luckily, gingivitis — whether acute or chronic — does not require surgical treatments and can be managed and cured through regular practice and maintenance of oral hygiene.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about periodontitis. Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gingivitis and affects the gums as well as bones and the supporting tissues of the mouth. There are three types of periodontitis which include chronic, aggressive, or necrotizing.
Periodontitis can lead to the eventual loss of teeth, by first causing gum tissues to pull away from the teeth and forming pockets in the spaces which form between the teeth and gums. Fortunately, periodontitis is not as common as gingivitis in teenagers or adults. Possible symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Recurring bleeding or swelling of the gums
- Pain when chewing
- Incorrect alignment of the teeth
- Formation of pockets between the teeth and gums
- Sores in the mouth
- Sensitive teeth
- Bad breath
- Persistent metallic taste
Periodontitis and its accompanying symptoms and damage may seem irreparable, however, it can be prevented and treated.
Three Types of Periodontitis
- Chronic Periodontitis
This is the most common type of the three gum diseases among adults over the age of 35 and involves receding gums and the formation of pockets between the gums and teeth.
- Aggressive Periodontitis
This type of periodontitis can be found in both adults and in children, however, it is more common in adults and can lead to bone loss if it persists into your 20s.
- Necrotizing Periodontitis
This type of periodontitis occurs mainly in individuals who smoke or individuals who are malnourished or suffer from immune deficiency, including HIV/AIDS patients. This form of periodontitis can damage the tissues, as well as the ligaments and bones in the mouth.
What causes periodontal disease?
A number of factors play a role in increasing your risk for developing periodontitis. Some of these factors include:
If periodontitis is common in your family then you have a greater likelihood of developing the disease yourself. Genetics plays a significant role in determining your risk of developing periodontitis.
In some cases, individuals who practice good oral hygiene may still develop periodontitis whereas those who do not maintain good oral hygiene may not develop any gum disease. These findings show a genetic role at play.
- Misaligned or crowded teeth, braces, or bridgework
If your teeth aren’t in their correct positions or if there are more teeth crowding your mouth, it makes it difficult to brush and floss your teeth. When your oral hygiene suffers, plaque and tartar begins to build up around your gum line and can lead to the development of periodontal disease.
If you require braces for your orthodontic problems, it’s important to get the correct treatment as soon as you can so that you can floss and brush effectively and with greater ease.
If you are a chain smoker, not only are you harming your lungs but you are creating resistance to treatment for periodontal disease. When you smoke, the tobacco in your cigarettes can lead to increased tartar on the teeth as well as the creation of pockets in your gums and eventual bone loss.
Save your teeth and decrease your chances of having periodontitis by quitting smoking. Quitting will not only improve your overall health but also the health of your teeth and gums.
When you experience stress, your immune system is weakened and therefore decreases your body’s ability to fight off any infections. It becomes difficult to treat periodontal infections when you are experiencing stress.
- Clenching or grinding teeth
If you tend to tense up and clench your teeth, it can exert excessive force onto your teeth and this can escalate the breakdown of the ligaments and bone in your mouth.
Certain conditions, including diabetes, leukemia, inflammatory bowel disease, and HIV infection tend to increase the risk of periodontitis; and can complicate its treatment process.
In order to keep your body healthy and strong, and maintain a high functioning immune system, your body requires adequate nutrition. A poor diet can reduce immune function and your body’s overall ability to fight infections, including those associated with periodontal diseases.
Saliva is produced in order to provide a natural lubricant for the removal of particles from your mouth to avoid plaque build-up. Many medications including antidepressants, diuretics, phenytoin, cyclosporine, nifedipine, and calcium channel blockers can lead to dry mouth and this decrease of saliva can increase your risk of developing periodontal disease.
How can periodontal disease be prevented?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums which can progress over time and affect the ligaments and bones around your teeth. This can have painful and unattractive results including loss of teeth.
There are, however, some simple ways to help prevent periodontal diseases, which include maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day and flossing after every meal.
It is also important to watch your diet, and make sure you eat a healthy balanced diet and refrain from consuming excessive sugars and saturated fats. Maintaining your oral and overall health can be the best way to avoid gum disease.
In some cases, such as with asymptomatic gingivitis, gum infection can progress to periodontitis without being detected. In order to treat severe periodontitis, surgery may be required to stop bone loss and to help regenerate bone which has already been lost.
Periodontal surgery also involves the reduction of the pockets which form between your teeth and gums, as well as grafting bone, and regenerating lost tissue.
Periodontal disease can also be treated without surgery using antibiotics to help fight the infection and a deep cleaning procedure including tooth scaling and root planing to help remove plaque from underneath the gum line where your toothbrush and floss cannot normally reach.
Home remedies which include daily injections of antimicrobial solutions into the pockets to decrease microbial colony formations and reduce the inflammation caused by infection can also be used.
If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms related to periodontal disease or would like to learn more about it, do not hesitate to call Bristol Dental today at 905-712-3409 or contact us here.