Whereas, gum disease occurs from a set of inflammatory conditions affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth.
In its early stage, the periodontal or gum disease is also called the gingivitis.
By the same token, as placed by Crest, gingivitis happens when plaque, (a naturally-occurring sticky film containing bacteria), builds up on teeth. Causing the inflammation of the surrounding gum tissue.
As a matter of fact, plaque produces toxins that irritate the gums. Of course, this can cause the gums to become inflamed, making them red or puffy, or causing them to bleed.
Not to mention, this harmful plaque bacteria can even lead to issues beyond gingivitis like weakened tooth enamel.
Even with regular brushing, it’s important to make sure you’re taking care of your gum line.
What is Periodontitis?
To enumerate, Periodontitis (per-e-o-don-TIE-tis) is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that supports your teeth.
In addition, Periodontitis can cause teeth to loosen or lead to tooth loss. Although it is important to realize, periodontitis is common but largely preventable.
It’s usually the result of poor oral hygiene. For example, brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental checkups can greatly improve your chances of successful treatment for periodontitis.
And can also reduce your chance of developing it in the first place.
Periodontitis Early Signs & Symptoms
Healthy gums are firm and pale pink and fit snuggly around teeth. Signs and symptoms of periodontitis can include:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Bright red, dusky red or purplish gums
- Generally, gums that feel tender when touched
- Gums that bleed easily
- Also, gums that pull away from your teeth (recede), making your teeth look longer than normal
- New spaces developing between your teeth
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Painful chewing
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Different types of Periodontitis
The more common types include those below.
It is the most common type, affecting mostly adults, though children can be affected, too.
This type is caused by plaque buildup and involves slow deterioration that may improve and get worse over time.
But, causes destruction in the gums and bone and loss of teeth if not treated.
Usually begins in childhood or early adulthood and affects only a small number of people.
It tends to affect families and causes rapid progression of bone and tooth loss if untreated.
Necrotizing Periodontal Disease
This is characterized by the death of gum tissue, tooth ligaments and supporting bone caused by lack of blood supply (necrosis), resulting in severe infection.
Equally, this type generally occurs in people with a suppressed immune system — such as from HIV infection, cancer treatment or other causes — and malnutrition.
Main Causes of Periodontal Disease
In most cases, periodontitis begins with plaque — a sticky film composed mainly of bacteria.
If left untreated, here’s how plaque can eventually advance to periodontitis:
Plaque forms on your teeth:
When starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria normally found in your mouth.
Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day removes plaque, but plaque re-forms quickly.
Plaque can harden under your gumline:
In reality, plaque can harden under your gumline into tartar (calculus) if it stays on your teeth.
Tartar is more difficult to remove and it’s filled with bacteria. The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more damage they can do.
You can’t get rid of tartar by brushing and flossing — you need professional dental cleaning to remove it.
Plaque can cause gingivitis:
In fact, plaque can cause gingivitis, which is the mildest form of periodontal disease.
Gingivitis is irritation and inflammation of the part of your gum around the base of your teeth (gingiva).
However, gingivitis can be reversed with professional treatment and good home oral care.
Ongoing gum inflammation can cause periodontitis:
Eventually, causing pockets to develop between your gums and teeth that fill with plaque, tartar, and bacteria.
In time, these pockets become deeper, filling with more bacteria. If not treated, these deep infections cause a loss of tissue and bone. And ultimately, you may lose one or more teeth.
Also, ongoing chronic inflammation can put a strain on your immune system.
How do you Prevent Periodontitis Disease?
The best way to prevent periodontitis is to follow a program of good oral hygiene, one that you begin early and practice consistently throughout life.
Good oral hygiene
That means brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice daily — in the morning and before going to bed — and flossing at least once a day.
Flossing before you brush allows you to clean away the loosened food particles and bacteria.
Regular dental visits
See your dentist or dental hygienist regularly for cleanings, usually every six to 12 months.
If you have risk factors that increase your chance of developing periodontitis — such as having dry mouth, taking certain medications or smoking — you may need professional cleaning more often.
Vaccination for Gum Disease
Scientists from The University of Melbourne have developed a world-first vaccine to treat gum disease.
Their research, published in the journal NPJ Vaccines, has so far only tested the vaccine in mice.
If successful in human trials, the vaccine will be able to prevent chronic gum disease – or periodontitis – that is considered the main cause of tooth loss in people over 30 years old globally.
When to See a Dentist
At the start and throughout the disease process, there is commonly bleeding from the gums on brushing and flossing.
Some patients report bleeding in eating and overnight.
As the disease progresses teeth may become loose, there may be recurrent swelling of the gums, a bad taste and/or bad breath.
Gums can start receding from the tooth, leading to sensitivity to hot, cold and sweet things.
In many cases, it is a visit to the dentist that identifies the problem.
Therefore, follow your dentist’s recommended schedule for regular checkups.
If you notice any symptoms of periodontitis, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
The sooner you seek care, the better your chances of reversing damage from periodontitis.
Below are some risk contributing factors. including,
- Poor oral health habits
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Older age
- Hormonal changes, such as those related to pregnancy or menopause
- Substance abuse
- Inadequate nutrition, including vitamin C deficiency
- Certain medications that cause dry mouth or gum changes
- Conditions that cause decreased immunity, such as leukemia, HIV/AIDS and cancer treatment
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease
The prevalence of periodontitis increases with age and around 53% of Australians aged 65 and over have moderate to severe levels.
For most people, the disease progresses slowly over a period of 20 to 30 years, before they start losing teeth.
Notably, periodontitis is generally painless until the later stages and many do not know they have problems.
Periodontitis can also cause tooth loss. And some research suggests that the bacteria responsible for periodontitis can enter your bloodstream through the gum tissue.
And, possibly affecting your heart, lungs and other parts of your body.
For example, periodontitis may be linked with respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease or stroke.
But more studies are needed to confirm a link.
I hope the above-revised guide will help you achieve your general oral care and hygiene best practices.
But, if you have additions, questions or contributions, please leave them in the comments box below or even Contact Us.
Below are more useful and related blog topic links.
- Healthy gums » Best Routine Practices
- Medical Health & Physical Fitness Guides
- Gingivitis » Treatment & Preventive Measures
- 5 Steps to a Flawless Floss
- Obesity Signs & Symptoms