The Dangers of Periodontal Disease (a.k.a. Gum Disease)
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is not uncommon. Numerous adults currently have some form of this disease; some worse than others. The extent of these diagnoses can vary from gum inflammation to serious diseases that result in tissue loss and bone loss. In the worst case, one could suffer from tooth loss because of gum disease. Gum disease can be stopped or slowed but it all depends on how you care for your teeth.
The Causes of Gum Disease
Your mouth is naturally full of bacteria. The bacteria pairs with mucus and other particles inside your mouth to form plaque on your teeth. Brushing and flossing will of course help remove plaque buildup, but the plaque that is not removed will harden and form what is known as tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist.
Most patients with gum disease have developed it because of poor dental hygiene. There are also some risk factors that can increase the likelihood you will develop gum disease (in some form). These risk factors include:
- Smoking – If you are looking for reasons to quit smoking, gum disease is one of them. Not only does smoking cause bad breath, but it is a significant risk factor for developing gum disease.
- Hormonal Changes – These changes occur naturally in women (especially during pregnancy) and make the gums more sensitive. This can also make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
- Diabetes – If you have diabetes, you are at greater risk for infection and that includes gum disease.
- Medications – Gum disease can also be a side effect of certain medications, especially those that cause dry mouth. Saliva naturally protects the mouth and without adequate amounts, you are vulnerable to gum disease.
- Genetics – Sometimes it just comes down to genetics and you are more prone to periodontal disease than other individuals.
How Do I Know If I Have Gum Disease?
The symptoms of gum disease can vary, but almost everyone with gum disease suffers from bad breath. Another common symptom is red, swollen or bleeding gums. You may also notice tenderness while chewing, loose teeth, sensitivity or receding gums.
Is Gum Disease Treatable?
Your dentist will work to control the infection. The treatment type and severity will depend on the level of disease you have. You will have to maintain good oral hygiene at home and then your dentist will scale and clean the teeth professionally to help remove tartar buildup and plaque. You may also be prescribed medications, such as an antimicrobial mouthwash, antibiotic gel or even antibiotics to control the infection.
In severe cases, you may require a bone or tissue graft to help regenerate any bone or gum tissue that was lost because of your periodontal disease.
Bleeding gums and bad breath may be a sign of periodontal disease.
For treatment options, call Dr. Cyrus today at 416-287-2426.
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