Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease caused by bacteria. It affects the soft and hard structures (peridontium) that gives support to the teeth. Dental Plaque (colorless, sticky bacterial film constantly forming on the teeth and gums) can cause toxins and enzymes to form that irritate and inflame the gum tissues. In the early stages (gingivitis) gums become swollen, red and painful. If left untreated by the dentist, plaque can lead to a more serious tissue and bone destruction (periodontitis). The longer the bacterial plaque is allowed to be present, the more difficult it is to treat and tooth loss becomes more likely.
There have been studies that link chronic inflammation from periodontal disease with the occurrence of cardiovascular problems. This connection suggests oral bacteria can be causative in heart disease, vascular blockages and stroke. Patients with diabetes are also under more serious risk of periodontal disease that can affect blood sugar control and healing time.
Healthy Gums - healthy gums are firm and don't bleed. They fit snugly around the teeth.
Gingivitis - gums are mildly inflamed, may appear red or swollen and may bleed during brushing.
Periodontitis - gums begin to separate and recedefrom the teeth. This allows plaque to move toward the roots, supporting fibers and bone.
Advanced Periodontitis - supporting fibers and boneare destroyed. Teeth become loose and may need to be removed.
Signs of Peridontal disease:
- Gums that bleed easily while brushing or flossing
- Red, swollen, and tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Changes in the way teeth fit together
Good Peridontal disease prevention:
- Brush thoroughly 2/ day and floss 1/ day
- Eat a balanced diet limiting carbohydrates and sugars
- Regular dental checkups and hygiene cleanings
- Use of ADA accredited toothpastes and mouth rinses
- Report dental changes to your dentist