Oral hygiene is a challenge for many people. Often, we tend to miss out on the essential aspects of oral health due to unhealthy habits like consuming too much sugary food and not cleaning our teeth regularly. That is why gum disease, also called periodontitis or periodontal disease, is a common occurrence in adults.
A 2009 investigation reported that about 47% of the adults in America experience mild, moderate, or severe periodontitis, while the rate is about 70% in adults who are 65 or older.
Periodontal disease is understood as the pathological involvement of the gums. There are two types of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. The first is an inflammatory condition of the gums and the second an aggravation of this condition that can damage the soft tissues and bones that support the teeth to the point of causing their fall.
The root cause of periodontal diseases is poor dental hygiene, which favors the formation of bacterial plaque and tartar below the gum line. If one does not visit the dentist for regular and thorough oral cleansing, then the likelihood of gingivitis increases, which causes redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums.
If this is not treated correctly, the next stage is periodontitis – a term that means excess inflammation around the tooth, causing the gums to weaken and forming the so-called periodontal pockets. Thus, the action of the bacteria and the immune system to fight them ends up damaging the bone and the tissues that support the teeth. After this, the teeth begin to loosen and can even fall if not treated by a dentist.
In addition to poor oral hygiene, other risk factors favor the onset of periodontal diseases, such as tobacco, hormonal changes in women, diabetes, and other conditions.
Periodontal disease may range from mild to severe. It is called gingivitis in its mildest form. At this point, it is reversible. However, if it progresses, your gums may move away from the teeth, resulting in pockets of infection. Ultimately, this condition affects your supporting tissue and bone that are holding your teeth in their positions. If you don’t receive aggressive dental treatment, you could lose your teeth.
How is Periodontal Disease Caused?
Due to hygiene issues, the bacteria-laden plaque may build up on the surfaces of your teeth. That causes infection of your gum tissue – leading to gum disease. Individuals who are at a higher risk include those who have certain illnesses, such as diabetes and immune disorders, pregnant women, and those who are consuming certain medications.
What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
Here are the main symptoms of gum disease:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Loose teeth
- Tender gum tissues
- Swollen or red gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Teeth that seem to appear longer
- Pain while chewing
- Persistent bad breath
- Receding gums
If you are experiencing any of these issues, it is best to get yourself evaluated and treated by an experienced dentist.
What Are the Treatment Methods Used?
If you have a mild case of gingivitis, you may only need better oral hygiene and adequate dental care. If you have an advanced case of periodontitis, you may need to see a specialty dentist, called periodontitis. Gum disease is mainly treated by controlling infection, which could be done in one of the following treatment methods:
- Medicated mouth rinses
- Scaling and root planing
- Flap or pocket reduction surgery
- Bone or soft tissue grafts
How Can I Avoid Periodontal Disease?
The most common cause of the periodontal disease is poor oral hygiene, so make it a point to take care of your teeth. To remove plaque, brush and floss your teeth regularly.
Many people are unable to avoid this disease or get proper treatment due to a lack of access to dental care or an affordable dentist. That is why services like free dental care at Risas Dental and Braces and their Labor of Love charity event are beneficial and useful. Since the year 2011, Risas Dental offices have collectively provided more than $5.5 million in free dental service to those who needed it. It is no surprise why the founder of Risas Dental, Dr. Nicolas Porter, was named one of the “Most Admired Leaders of 2015” and “2014 Health Care Hero” in the Phoenix Business Journal.