Periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease. If left untreated, periodontitis can cause the teeth to fall out.
What Causes Periodontitis?
Throughout the day, the bacteria in the mouth forms a sticky film on the teeth known as plaque. The bacteria in plaque turn carbs and sugars into acids, which eat away at tooth enamel. The longer plaque is allowed to stay on the teeth, the more damage it does.
Plaque that is not properly removed turns into tartar, a hard substance that requires professional removal. Tartar creates a protective layer for plaque, allowing it to thrive. Once this occurs, the bacteria can infect the gum tissue and even the bones surrounding the teeth. Although plaque causes gum disease, tartar makes it possible for bacterial plaque to flourish.
Plaque that adheres to the tooth along the gumline can cause irritation to the gums. Known as gingivitis, the early stages of gum disease cause redness and swelling. Over time, plaque around the gumline and underneath the gums can attack the bone and ligaments surrounding the teeth. This advanced form of gum disease is known as periodontitis.
Although anyone that doesn’t properly care for their teeth can develop periodontitis, some people are more prone to gum disease than others. Smoking increases the risk of both gingivitis and periodontitis. Other risk factors include hormonal changes, diabetes, illness, the prolonged use of certain medications, and genetics.
What Are the Symptoms of Periodontitis?
Symptoms of gum disease include redness, swelling, and irritation of the gums. Many people also find that their gums bleed easily when brushing or eating. Symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Persistent bad breath
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Pain when chewing
- Loose teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Receding gums or teeth that appear longer than they used to
- Gums that pull away from the teeth
- Changes to the way that teeth fit together
During a dentist visit, a dentist or dental hygienist will examine the gums to check for inflammation. They use a variety of tools to determine whether gum disease is present. Dentists use a special tool known as a probe to check for pockets around the teeth. Normally, these pockets measure only 1 to 3 millimeters in depth. Pockets deeper than 4 millimeters may indicate periodontitis. If periodontitis is suspected, the dentist may take x-rays to check for bone loss. In addition to a thorough exam, the dentist or hygienist will ask about medical history and risk factors that may increase the chance of periodontitis.
Following diagnosis, the dentist may recommend a visit to a periodontist. Periodontists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontitis and other forms of gum disease. They can offer treatment options that regular dentists cannot.
Treatment of Periodontitis
Periodontitis is caused by overgrowth of bacteria. The main goal of treatment is to control the bacterial infection. The dentist will likely perform a deep cleaning to remove any tartar along the gumline or under the gums. They may recommend certain changes to improve the outcome of treatment. The type of treatment required depends on the extent of damage to the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth.
Following treatment, it’s extremely important that patients ensure proper oral hygiene at home like brushing and flossing at least twice a day. It’s also important to attend any future dental visits for treatments or regular cleanings.
Is Gum Disease Linked to Other Health Problems?
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has found links between gum disease and serious health conditions. As bacteria makes its way to the bloodstream through the gums, it can cause infections in other parts of the body. Occasionally, gum disease causes health problems like stroke and heart disease. Periodontitis may also make diabetes worse.
An ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure when it comes to periodontitis. This common form of gum disease is preventable with good dental habits. Bacteria that aren’t brushed away, quickly multiply inside the mouth. Brushing twice a day using a quality dental gel like LIVFRESHTM helps keep plaque at bay. LIVFRESHTM Dental Gel removes plaque 250% better than traditional toothpaste.
When brushing, use a soft toothbrush and pay close attention to the areas around the gumline. It’s also important to replace toothbrushes often. When brushes become old and frayed, they can harbor bacteria which can transfer to the mouth while brushing.
In addition to brushing, flossing at least once each day helps remove plaque from the spaces between the teeth and around the gums. Flossing before bed helps reduce the number of bacteria left in the mouth. This is important, as bacteria often multiply at night.
Although flossing helps remove bacteria and plaque from the teeth, flossing too hard can cause damage to the gums, increasing the chance of gum disease. Instead of moving floss straight up and down between the teeth, create a c-shape with the floss and gently move the floss from top to bottom of the front and back of the tooth.
Many people don’t realize the impact what they eat and drink can have on their teeth. Anyone wanting to avoid periodontitis or other dental problems should avoid eating too many carbohydrates, especially refined sugars.
Regular check-ups and cleanings help detect dental problems sooner, before they can escalate. During check-ups, a dentist removes plaque and tartar from the teeth and under the gums. They use special tools to remove tartar and clean the hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.
Plaque and tartar build-up can cause major problems if not properly removed. Fortunately, keeping plaque in check isn’t hard with the right tools. Brushing with a quality dental gel like LIVFRESHTM ensures an almost professional cleaning every day. However, it’s still important to visit the dentist at least twice each year. During these important visits, the dentist removes any existing plaque or tartar and determines risk factors for periodontitis.
LIVFRESHTM Dental Gel removes plaque safely at home between dentist visits. This unique dental gel attacks plaque in even hard-to-reach places. Please contact us for information about our products.