Periodontal disease is generally referred to as gum disease. However, there are several stages of gum disease, ranging from the mildest, known as gingivitis, to the most severe, which is referred to as periodontitis.
Basics Of Periodontal Disease
Gum disease is believed to be present in roughly 23% of the Australian population. The good news is that, in its early stages, the disease can be successfully treated.
However, in the later stage of the disease, it damages the soft tissues in your gum and the bone that surrounds your tooth. Alongside being very painful, this can cause tooth loss which potentially leads to further issues.
All forms of periodontal disease occur in the same way. Everyone has bacteria in their mouth, it is beneficial for a variety of reasons. However, whenever you eat food the sugar in that food will react with the bacteria, the byproduct is acid. This acid will attack the enamel on your teeth, damaging it and potentially leading to cavities.
If the acid and food debris is not cleared away regularly, it will stick to your teeth. You know this as plaque. When plaque is left for a period of time it turns into the harder substance, tartar. This generally sits where your gums and teeth meet.
The tartar traps bacteria which then start to attack your gums. Over time the gums will recede. Signs of gum disease also include inflammation, deep red gums, and they will bleed easily when brushed.
Treating Periodontal Disease
In the early stages a reputable dentist, such as this dentist St Leonards, can simply deep clean your teeth and gums, removing the plaque and tartar. This eliminates the bacteria and allows the gums to return to normal.
However, in the later stages, this is not possible. The dentist will need to remove infected gum and try to prevent the disease from spreading. In the worst-case scenario, the tooth will be lost and you will need to look at implant options.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
The good news is that periodontal disease is largely avoidable! You simply need to adopt a good oral hygiene routine.
This means brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time. You should only use your forefinger and thumb to hold your toothbrush, this will help to prevent you from brushing too hard.
Alongside this, it is a good idea to replace your toothbrush regularly and to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing. This stops you from brushing the acid into your teeth.
Of course, flossing at least once a day can help, as can visiting a dentist at least once a year. You may need to see them more often but they will advise you regarding the most appropriate timetable.
It is worth noting that periodontal disease is more likely if you smoke, have certain medical conditions, poor nutrition, or are undergoing hormonal changes, such as puberty or pregnancy. In these cases, extra care and additional dental visits can help.