Periodontal diseases are ailments confined only to the gum, and they range from minor inflammations of the gum to serious diseases that can lead to damaged soft tissues and eventual loss of teeth and bone.
Types of Periodontal Diseases
Since we put a lot of foreign matter into our mouths in the form of food, the mouth tends to harbor a lot of bacteria. These bacteria, when it comes into contact with our oral fluids, forms plaque on the teeth, which can be removed through normal oral hygiene of flossing and brushing our teeth. When plaque is not taken care of, it hardens into tartar, which carries a lot of bacteria and can only be removed by a dentist through professional cleaning.
If your teeth continue to harbor the hardened bacteria, it invites a host of gum diseases also known as periodontal diseases. There are three stages of periodontal diseases and they range from the least severe to the most severe.
- Gingivitis: When the bacteria stays on your teeth for long, it causes a disease known as gingivitis, which is the inflammation of gums. When you have gingivitis, you gums start bleeding, become swollen and turn red. This disease can be easily reversed by reverting to stringent dental hygiene like brushing and flossing and the usual dental cleaning at the dentist. Since gingivitis is mild, it doesn’t lead to any loss of teeth or jaw tissues.
- Periodontitis: If you decide to stay on with gingivitis instead of reversing it, it can lead to Periodontitis, basically inflammation of the tissue surrounding the tooth. This disease is not as mild as gingivitis because it causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, leaving pockets that host bacteria then lead to infection.
- Advanced Periodontitis: When Periodontitis is not treated, the plaque develops below the gum line which leads to the breakdown of connective tissue. If you don’t go to the dentist for treatment the connective tissue including the bone and gums are destroyed, and you end up losing your teeth.
Periodontal Diseases Causes
- Hormonal changes: If you are not female, you do not have to worry about this. When hormones change among females, some of them tend to have sensitive gums, which can easily become a breeding ground of gingivitis.
- Smoking: If smoking does not give you some type of cancer, it might give you gum diseases. Actually, it is the highest cause of periodontal diseases according to research.
- Certain medications: Certain medicines that may affect the flow of saliva can lead to gum diseases. Just in case you did not know, saliva protects our teeth and gums.
- Diabetes: People who suffer from diabetes are more prone to infections, which include gum diseases.
- Mental stress: When we are mentally stressed, our bodies find it difficult to fight infections, leaving us open season to infections, including but not limited to gum diseases.
Prevention & Treatment
Here is what you can do to protect yourself from gum diseases
- Make a routine of visiting your dentist at least every six months
- Stop smoking cigarettes or using any other tobacco products
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and remember to floss on daily basis
- If your nutrition is leaning on the poor side, make sure it is balanced.
Periodontal diseases are usually treated through:
- Root planning and scaling which are forms of deep cleaning
- Surgery including bone and tissue grafts, and flap surgery
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