What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) can destroy the supporting bones of your teeth, leading to loose, or even complete loss, of your teeth.
Poor dental hygiene, such as irregular teeth brushing and flossing, can result in swollen, red gums and infection around your teeth.
If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause your gums to come away from your teeth, loosening as a result or even falling out. Periodontal disease is mainly found in adults and statistics show that a massive 90% of adults in the UK have at least one of the stages of periodontal disease.
Four stages of periodontal disease
There are four stages of periodontal disease:
Regular brushing and flossing can reverse the symptoms of gingivitis, which can include sore, swollen and bleeding gums.
This stage of periodontal disease can be reversed if treated early enough. Left untreated, gingivitis can create gum infection and abscesses, which then leads to the next stage.
- Slight periodontal disease
Unlike gingivitis, slight periodontal disease cannot be reversed (infection will have started to get into the bone at this stage) but it is manageable.
Scaling and root planing can remove the plaque and bacteria that has collected deep in the gums that ordinary brushing can’t reach.
- Moderate periodontal disease
Reaching the third stage means that the disease is more advanced and infection is deeper in the gums.
Again, scaling and root planing can be effective, but you would need to attend multiple sittings before your gums have completely healed and reattached to your teeth.
- Advanced periodontal disease
The fourth and final stage of periodontal disease is more serious. The bacteria will now be causing your gums to ooze pus and your teeth will be sensitive, making it painful to chew.
If left untreated, you will notice gaps between your teeth and they may become loose and fall out.
Surgery to remove the infection is a consideration at this stage and you may also want to repair your smile back to its former glory.
Symptoms of periodontal disease
There are a number of symptoms to look out for with periodontal disease. Even if you only have one of the following symptoms, you should seek advice from your dentist:
- Bleeding gums
- Build-up of plaque and tartar
- Horrible taste in your mouth
- Tooth loss
- Pain when eating
- Bad breath that won’t go away
Main causes of periodontal disease
Being aware of the main causes of periodontal disease can significantly reduce your chance of developing it.
- Poor dental hygiene
- Type 2 diabetes
- Poor nutrition
- Vitamin C deficiency
- Hormonal changes
- Drinking fizzy drinks and not brushing straightaway
Complications from periodontal disease
If you have the symptoms of periodontal disease and don’t address them, then other medical problems can arise.
These include increased risk of diabetes and heart and respiratory diseases and it can also present as inflammatory changes in other parts of the body. Women have to be particularly careful as complications can arise in childbirth including preeclampsia and low birth weight.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent the development of periodontal disease:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
This is an essential preventative action and using an electric toothbrush can make it even more effective, reaching parts of the tooth and gums that a normal toothbrush may miss.
- Floss at least once a day
Flossing before you brush will loosen that hard-to-reach plaque, ready to be brushed away.
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco
Smoking or chewing tobacco can affect the attachment of bone and gums to your teeth and can interfere with the production of cells within gum tissue.
More worryingly, smoking weakens your body’s immune system so in the event of gum disease, it will be much harder for your gums to heal.
Help is on hand for you to stop smoking.
- Pay regular visits to your dentist
Visiting your dentist just twice a year for a check-up and professional cleaning is enough to keep periodontal disease at bay.
For further information on The EvoSolution to get your confidence and smile back or to see one of our dentists, contact us.