If you have gum disease, you’re not alone. About 80 percent of U.S. adults currently have some form of the disease. It ranges from simple gum inflammation, called Gingivitis, to serious disease that results in damage to the bone called Peridontitis.
In Gingivitis, the gums become red and swollen. They can bleed easily. Most people can reverse this with daily brushing and flossing and seeing their dentist regularly. Untreated Gingivitis can lead to Periodontitis. The gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that are infected. If not treated, the bones, gums and connective tissue that support the teeth are destroyed.
What causes periodontal disease?
The bacteria found in our mouths, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form bacteria-harboring “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean, that Only a professional can remove.
1. Smoking. Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of periodontitis. Additionally, smoking can lower the chances of success of some treatments.
2. Hormonal changes in women. These changes can make gums more sensitive and make it easier for gingivitis to develop. Diabetes. People with diabetes are at higher risk for developing infections, including periodontal disease.
3. Stress. Research shows that stress can make it more difficult for our bodies to fight infection.
4. Medications. Some drugs can affect oral health because they lessen the flow of saliva. (Saliva has a protective effect on teeth and gums.)
5. Illnesses. Diseases like cancer or AIDS and their treatments can also affect the health of gums.
How is periodontal disease treated?
The main goal of treatment is to control the infection. The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the gum disease. Any type of treatment requires that the patient keep up good daily care at home. Additionally, modifying certain behaviors, such as quitting tobacco use, might also be suggested as a way to improve treatment outcome.
Treatment usually involves non-surgical scaling and root planning in combination with medications such as Arestin and Periostat and an antibiotic mouth rinse.
Can periodontal disease cause health problems beyond the mouth?
Studies are ongoing to determine whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship between periodontal disease and evidence suggest a link between Periodontal(Gum) Disease and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke, an increased risk of delivering preterm, low birth weight babies, difficulty controlling blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
In the meantime, it’s a fact that controlling periodontal disease can save your teeth — a very good reason to take care of your teeth and gums.