Everything You Need to Know About Periodontal Disease
Regardless of whether it’s been a few months or a few years since you’ve been to the dental office, you’ve likely heard of periodontal disease, more commonly called gum disease. There are multiple misunderstandings of this common and potential smile destroying dental condition including the belief that good at-home oral hygiene is all that one needs to protect their gums, thinking that it is reversible and that the occasional bleeding of the gums isn’t anything to worry about.
While gum disease is common, it can wreak havoc on your mouth if it’s not properly treated by a dental professional. Learning more about periodontal disease often help patients take the prevention of the disease more seriously.
Types of Periodontal Disease
There are two main types of periodontal disease: Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease.
Gingivitis is early stage periodontal disease and it’s the one that is most commonly seen in patients. This form of gum disease can be stopped and reversed if treated early. Gingivitis occurs when plaque builds up on teeth. The plaque in turn attracts bacteria which can infiltrate the soft tissue of the mouth, namely the gums. The presence of this harmful bacteria leads to red, swollen gums that bleed easily.
If the plaque of gingivitis isn’t treated, it can escalate to periodontal disease. The bacteria feeding off the plaque can create infections which secrete harmful toxins that cause inflammation and irritation of the gums. If periodontitis goes untreated, the gums can begin to pull away from the teeth, leading to possibly losing one’s teeth.
Within periodontal disease, there are four common forms that are possible:
Aggressive Periodontitis. This form of periodontal disease is prevalent among healthy adults who are experiencing rapid gum separation and bone destruction.
Chronic Periodontitis. With chronic periodontitis, the gum separation begins slowly and has occasional bursts of rapid growth. This type is the most common type among adults.
Necrotizing Periodontal Disease. – This is characterized by the premature death of living tissue causing lesions in the gum, ligaments and bone. It is most commonly seen in conjunction with malnutrition, immunosuppression or HIV infection.
Periodontitis With Systemic Disease. This type of periodontitis is accompanied by another, separate systemic disease such as diabetes, respiratory disease, and cardiovascular disease.
Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease
There are some risk factors that can increase your chances of getting periodontal disease. These include:
- A family history of periodontal disease.
- Improper oral hygiene habits that includes the failure to floss.
- Improper flossing
- One doesn’t regularly go to the dentist.
- You are an older woman.
- One’s gums frequently bleed, but one doesn’t see the dentist to check the issue out.
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease can be easily preventable. Preventing periodontal disease from occurring in the first place will not only preserve your smile, but it will save you a lot of time and money by sparing you from potentially costly and time-consuming future dental treatments.
Below are some ways to prevent periodontal disease:
Stop Harmful Habits
A diet high in sugar and starches, smoking, using chewing tobacco, using antidepressants, and excessively drinking alcohol.
Be Proactive About Preventative Measures
Besides making healthy lifestyle choices, practicing proper, effective oral hygiene on a daily basis is also crucial in preventing periodontal disease. Here are the three essential components of good oral hygiene:
Brushing. Brush your teeth in the morning, evening and after every meal, if it is possible. Use fluoride toothpaste and make sure your toothbrush is less than three months old. It’s important to brush for a solid two minutes.
Flossing. Floss daily, preferably after each meal and be sure to floss both sides of each tooth.
Rinse With Mouthwash. Mouthwash greatly compliments and increases the effectiveness of teeth brushing and flossing. Mouthwash shouldn’t be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing.
Regularly See the Dentist
While many patients may be fearful of coming into the dentist office, at Parham Family Dental we strive to create a pleasant, friendly, welcoming environment for our patients. Our dentist can effectively treat your gingivitis or offer you multiple options on how to best treat your periodontal disease. Both forms of gum disease escalate and worsen the longer the plaque and bacteria go without being treated. Our dental office has specific tools that can remove the plaque buildup on teeth that our patients can’t remove by themselves.
If you suspect that you may have periodontal disease or if it has been longer than six months since your last dental appointment, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Once patients have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, they may want to investigate a few treatment options at their dentists. Many dentist offices, however, do not offer cheap enough care for patients to manage, in a time when deep cleanings and gingivectomy procedures cost thousands of dollars without an affordable dental care plan. Patients with such a plan may find better rates at their dentists, who can offer effective treatment for this condition.