Periodontal disease is an infection of the structures around the teeth. This includes the gums, periodontal ligament (connective tissue) and alveolar bone (the thickened ridge of bone that contains the tooth sockets). The seriousness of the disease ranges from simple gum inflammation to major damage. This damage impacts the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth can be lost.
The most common cause of periodontal disease is hardened, bacterial plaque. This plaque is formed of food debris in the hours after you have eaten. The plaque adheres to your teeth and causes inflammation in the gums. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form tartar. No amount of brushing is capable of cleaning tartar.
Periodontal disease is the next step up in severity from Gingivitis. When Gingivitis is not treated it advances to Periodontitis, meaning inflammation around the tooth. At this stage, the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These pockets become infected and when our body tries to fight these bacteria, it releases toxins. It is these toxins which cause the bone to break down and damages the connective tissues that hold our teeth in place.
Treatment for Those who have it
If Periodontal Disease is not treated, the bones, gums and tissue that support the teeth will eventually be destroyed. Periodontal treatment will be required. The aim of periodontal treatment is to clean the pockets of bacteria thoroughly to prevent even more damage to the gums and surrounding bone.
Prevention is better Than Cure
Everything comes down to oral hygiene. It is quite simple to keep these diseases at bay with the implementation of a disciplined routine.
Brush twice daily – Every dentist, doctor and parent will tell you the same thing. Brush your teeth twice a day at minimum – after breakfast and after dinner. Brushing helps to remove food particles which, if not removed, would harden to form plaque. Plaque causes inflammation which, in turn, can cause Gingivitis. The last step after Gingivitis is periodontal disease.
Floss daily – Flossing removes the debris that your toothbrush can’t, particularly in-between your teeth. Daily flossing ensures that this debris cannot harden to become plaque.
Healthy lifestyle – There are many lifestyle factors that can help your oral hygiene. Smoking increases your risk of Gingivitis. Some medications, particularly those that reduce the flow of saliva, can increase your risk of gum disease. Nutrition is important for your overall health as good nutrition helps to maintain a strong immune system and healthy gums and mouth.
Regular dentist visits – Some say 12 or 24 monthly visits are acceptable, we suggest it is worth visiting your dentist every 6 months to ensure your dental health is stable and maintained.
If you have any warning signs that you may be at risk of gum disease, go see your dentist in Morningside immediately. This could include persistent bad breath, gums bleeding from brushing or teeth receding. You can book an appointment online here or call us on 07 3902 1023.