A 2011 CDC study determined that of every two Americans over age 30, one will have some form of periodontal disease. What is Periodontal Disease? Periodontal disease is any disorder of the tissues that surround and support the teeth, most commonly gingivitis and periodontitis. Such conditions are most commonly caused by plaque, which can induce inflammation and inflammatory lesions of the gums.
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums and often results as an inflammatory response to the film of bacteria known at plaque, and can also be caused by certain systemic problems, viral, fungal, or bacterial infections, or by certain medications. Symptoms include:
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding Gums
- Bleeding that occurs during or after brushing or flossing
- Red or purplish gums
- Gums that are painful or tender to touch
- Halitosis (bath breath)
Treatments including thorough cleaning, diligent home-hygiene and flossing, or possible use of anti-microbial agents, are used to treat gingivitis. Gingivitis is reversible.
Periodontitis is preceded by gingivitis and is a more destructive form of inflammation that leads to bone-loss around the teeth, the eventual result of which would be loosening and loss of the teeth due to lack of bone support. Symptoms include:
- Bleeding that occurs during or after brushing or flossing or when eating or biting into foods
- Recurring gum swelling
- Spitting out blood after brushing
- Gingival recession (may appear to be “lengthening” of the teeth. )
- Deep pockets around or between the teeth and the gums
- Halitosis, (bad breath)
- a persistent metallic taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth, in the later stages
Periodontitis is treatable and manageable, but bone loss and other severe tissue damage cannot be reversed. Poor oral hygiene, untreated gingivitis, smoking, and certain diseases such as diabetes call all contribute to the development of periodontitis. Periodontis is more complicated to treat and manage than gingivitis.
Mall of Georgia Dentistry is committed to helping you keep you teeth healthy, and although our focus is on education to ideally help patients prevent periodontal disease, we are here to help care for teeth of all conditions! If you are managing a periodontal condition, continue as instructed by your dental and health care providers. As for prevention, daily flossing, gentle thorough brushing with the proper 45-degree angle at the gum line, and regular dental cleanings and check-ups are the foundation of all healthy teeth maintenance.