What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that affects the soft and hard structures that support the teeth. Inflamed gums can be caused by plaque, being a thick and sticky film of bacteria that builds up and sits on and around the teeth and under the gums. With time plaque hardens and becomes calculus, a rock hard substance that irritates the gums if not removed. This can cause periodontal disease; a gum infection that if not treated may result in tooth loss, bad breath and bleeding, sore and swollen gums.
The early stage of this gum disease is called Gingivitis, where the bacteria from the plaque and calculus have started to damage the gums. Gingivitis can usually be cured by good everyday oral hygiene, brushing twice daily for 2 minutes, flossing between the teeth and rinsing with an antibacterial mouth rinse. Early stage of gum disease if left untreated can cause Periodontal Disease.
Advanced stages of gum disease is called Periodontal Disease also known as Periodontitis. It can cause serious damage to teeth, gums and the bone structure supporting your teeth. With the infection causing inflammation around the gums, pockets start to form between the gums and teeth, causing gums to recede away from the teeth. This leaves teeth more susceptible to sensitivity and decay as the 2nd layer of the tooth called Dentine is now exposed. As a result of receding gums teeth may become loose, fall out, or need extracting by your Dentist.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
- Red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums.
- Gums that have shrunk away from the teeth.
- Persistent bad breath
- Abscesses between teeth and gums
- The fit of a denture has changed
- Loose teeth, drifting apart of teeth, and gaps appearing between teeth.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease
Every day oral health is your number one key to an overall healthy mouth!
After your Dental Professional has examined the gums and diagnosed Periodontal Disease, it is extremely important that your home care and 3 monthly Preventive Care Appointments are kept up to date. Removing the build up of plaque with twice daily brushing correctly shown by your Oral Health Therapist and once daily cleaning between the teeth and using an antibacterial mouth rinse once a day will help keep calculus to a minimum. Your 3 monthly Preventive Care Appointments will remove the build from underneath the gums where the toothbrush cannot reach. Periodontal Disease that does not improve with this treatment may require a visit to a Periodontist- gum specialist.
Pregnancy and Periodontal Disease
Whilst pregnant it is extremely important for your oral health to be maintained as you are more susceptible to getting Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease due to the pregnancy hormones affecting the way that gums react to plaque. More than 70% of women suffer from Gingivitis whilst they are pregnant.
Severe Periodontitis while pregnant may increase the risk of:
Premature (preterm) births and low birth weight.
Pregnancy diabetes (Gestational Diabetes)
Preventing and Controlling Periodontal Disease
Keeping Periodontal Disease under control you will need to continue the following steps.
- Excellent oral hygiene must be maintained daily. (Home care)
- Plaque and calculus on the teeth roots must be routinely removed. (Oral Health Therapist)
- Enlarged gum pockets around the teeth must be regularly treated. (Oral Heath Therapist)
Factors That Raise the Risk of Periodontitis
- Conditions and medications that suppress your immune system
- Heavy build up of plaque
Heavy build up of calculus causing gums to become very inflamed and irritated, making the gums recede and loss of bone structure.share