How to Protect Your Teeth

Your Periodontal Disease Guide

Good oral hygiene reduces the risk of cavities, but it also reduces the risk of periodontal disease. This disease is incredibly common, especially in older Americans. However, it is preventable. If you would like to know more, keep reading.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is gum disease, and it includes gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a milder form of gum disease, and periodontitis usually presents with advanced and severe symptoms. Gingivitis does not always progress to periodontitis. Ultimately, periodontal disease is an infection of the gums.

Who Is at Risk for Periodontal Disease?

If you neglect your oral hygiene, you are at a high risk of periodontal disease. However, consuming foods/beverages high in sugar and/or carbs also increases your risk. As the gums become inflamed, they may start to pull away from the teeth, which creates a pocket. Food, plaque, and bacteria get trapped in these pockets.

You may also have a higher risk of gum disease if you have a condition that affects your immune system and/or healing capabilities (diabetes, HIV, etc.). Smoking can also affect blood flow, reducing the body's ability to heal gum tissue. Last, if you struggle with dry mouth, you can't naturally wash away plaque and bacteria, increasing the amount of debris in your mouth.

What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?          

The leading symptoms of periodontal disease are bleeding gums that may feel tender or sore. At first, you may only notice discomfort and bleeding during brushing or flossing. However, gums may bleed or hurt without prodding.

Healthy gums should look light pink, but infected gums appear darker red. Depending on the severity, they may smell or ooze pus. As the disease continues to advance, it leads to gum recession and tooth loss. In extreme cases, periodontitis reaches the jawbone.

How Is Periodontal Disease Treated?                          

Gum disease is treated with antibiotics to kill the bacteria. In addition, the dentist must fully clean the teeth to prevent any future irritation. To prevent the disease from returning, your dentist will suggest changes in oral hygiene and eating habits.

However, if you have gum loss, large pockets, or bone loss, you may need surgical options to repair the damage caused by the infection. Gum flap surgery and gum grafts repair gum tissue, and bone grafts help add volume to the jawbone.

Periodontal disease may be common, but that doesn't mean you have to live with it. There are treatments, and you can even restore your smile. If you would like to know more, contact a dentist in your area today. 

For more information, contact a local company like Comprehensive Dental Care.