Periodontitis Is No Laughing Matter
Gum disease often sneaks up on people with little to no warning. One would think that a disease with as many potential negative effects as periodontitis would come with big red flags. Damage to the gums, teeth, and jawbone can occur, and the only clue may be mild bleeding of the gums.
During your regular dental exam, x-rays may reveal a space between the gums and teeth that has allowed bacteria to take up residence. If left unchecked, the chronic infection can cause inflammation and ultimately, tooth or bone loss.
Understanding Gum Disease
Gum disease progresses from a milder form known as gingivitis to a more severe form called periodontitis. So, how does gum disease start?
- Plaque is left to sit on teeth due to inadequate oral hygiene practices.
- Tartar begins to form and accumulates along the gum line.
- Bacteria feed on these leftovers and emit acids and toxins that cause the enamel to erode.
- Toxins build up, and an inflammatory response ensues.
- Eventually, the periodontal ligament is attacked, and teeth may loosen.
- Untreated periodontitis can cause tooth loss, bone loss, and several other health issues.
Practicing proper oral hygiene is the most effective way to combat gum disease before it starts. The last thing anybody wants are multiplying toxins that end up in the bloodstream.
Gingivitis VS. Periodontitis
Gingivitis is considered a periodontal disease. Inadequate oral hygiene is often to blame. Though relatively painless, the affected gums grow red, swollen, and there may be bleeding. The good news is that gingivitis is reversible with the help of your dentist and the adoption of recommended oral hygiene practices.
Periodontitis often occurs as a result of untreated gingivitis. Accumulations of plaque provide bacteria with a seemingly never-ending food source. The bacteria’s waste products stimulate a chronic inflammatory response. Supportive gum tissue is destroyed, which leaves teeth loose and may result in the need for extractions.
Deep Cleaning VS. Regular Cleaning
Think of a regular dental cleaning like a good polishing. Plaque and tartar on the surface of the teeth are removed. However, regular cleanings do not reach the gum line well enough to eliminate build-up. Once plaque and tartar take root under the gum line, bacteria colonies form and cause decay.
Anesthesia is recommended for deep cleaning procedures due to the nature of scaling and root planing. Even after bacteria colonies are safely removed from the gum line, it may take several visits to ensure the infection has been eliminated. People with severe periodontitis are not candidates for regular cleanings in order to avoid exposing the body to the toxins.
What Should I Do If I Suspect Gum Disease?
Visit our dental team at AV Dental to discuss concerns. Undergo a thorough dental exam to catch gum disease at its earliest stages. If necessary, make changes to your oral hygiene routines to fight against chronic gum disease. Partner with your dentist to begin the path towards optimal oral health!