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Periodontitis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments & Prevention

By June 7, 2021August 3rd, 2021Conditions, Periodontics
Periodontitis

Periodontitis is defined as the inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth. It is a form of gum disease that affects the pink tissue that holds your teeth in place and causes red, swollen or bleeding gums. Periodontitis, if left untreated, can result in tooth loss. Special deep cleaning and, in severe cases, surgery may be required. Periodontitis can be avoided by brushing and flossing regularly.

Its potential concerns go beyond swollen gums as a severe type of gum disease. Periodontitis can erode the bones in your mouth and lead to tooth loss if you don’t get treatment. Fortunately, you can take simple precautions to avoid contracting this severe condition.

What Happens When You Have Periodontitis?

Periodontitis leads to your gums getting inflamed. They may enlarge, bleed, and turn red. The inflammation gets so intense, and air pockets could form between your gums and teeth.

Bacteria can enter and thrive in these spaces, causing illness beneath the gum line. Your immune system then combats the infection. It eventually dissolves the tissue and bone that hold teeth in place. This reaction can result in tooth loss.

How Common Is Periodontitis?

In the United States, gum disease affects more than 47% of persons over the age of 30. For those 65 and older, the percentage rises to over 70%.

Who Is At Risk For Periodontitis?

In people under the age of 30, gum disease is relatively infrequent. Even so, it can impact anyone who has poor dental hygiene, such as individuals who don’t brush and floss on a regular basis.

On the other hand, gum disease is more prone to develop as you become older due to years of inadequate dental hygiene. You’ll get gingivitis, a milder form of gum disease, before you get periodontitis. If left untreated, gingivitis leads to the development of periodontitis.

Periodontitis is also more common in men. One factor could be that men are less likely to visit the dentist on a regular basis. They also tend to have poorer dental health.

Other factors that can increase your periodontitis risk include the following:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco: It reduces the body’s ability to fight illness.
  • Certain diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes: People with these conditions are more likely to contract infections.
  • Medications that reduce saliva production: Saliva helps to preserve your gums. These medications include antihistamines, antidepressants, and medicine for hypertension.
  • Genetics: You can have genes that make you more vulnerable to gum disease.
  • Hormonal changes in women, which are brought about by the use of birth control pills, pregnancy, or menopause.
  • Cancer, leukemia, and AIDS are examples of diseases that limit the immune system’s response. The most severe form of periodontitis is necrotizing periodontitis, which is caused by these conditions.
  • Poor oral health habits
  • Obesity
  • Recreational drug use, such as vaping or smoking marijuana
  • Inadequate nutrition, especially vitamin C deficiency

What Causes Periodontitis?

Plaque, a sticky coating primarily made of bacteria, is the most common cause of periodontitis. Here’s how plaque can progress to periodontitis if left untreated:

  • When starches and sugars in food mix with bacteria in your mouth, plaque builds on your teeth. Plaque is removed by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, but it usually returns fast.
  • If plaque remains on your teeth, it can solidify into tartar (calculus) behind the gumline. Tartar is more challenging to get rid of and contains microorganisms. Plaque and tartar cause more harm the longer they stay on your teeth. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing and flossing alone; it requires professional dental cleaning.
  • Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease, and it results from plaque. It leads to the irritation and inflammation of the gum tissue around your teeth’ base (gingiva). Gingivitis can be treated and reversed with expert help and basic dental hygiene at home.
  • The inflammation that comes with periodontitis causes pockets to form between your gums and teeth, which fill with plaque, tartar, and bacteria. These pockets deepen over time, accumulating more bacteria. These deep infections could cause tissue and bone loss, and you may lose one or more teeth if they are not treated. Chronic inflammation can also place a strain on your body.

What Are Periodontitis Symptoms?

Healthy gums appears to be pale pink, firm, and fit snugly around teeth. When you have gum disease, however, you’ll experience one or more of the following symptoms.

Gums that:

  • Bleed easily.
  • Feel tender when touched.
  • Are swollen
  • Recede, making more of your teeth show.
  • Are puffy
  • Are dusky red, bright red, or purplish

Teeth that:

  • Become loose.
  • Feel sensitive.
  • Get surrounded by pus.
  • Are unusually spaced out
  • Look like they’re longer (from receding gums).

Other symptoms include:

  • Bad breath.
  • Change in your bite. This refers to the manner in which your upper and lower teeth come together.
  • Pus between your gums and teeth.
  • Painful chewing.
  • Loss of teeth
  • Pink-tinged toothbrush after you brush.
  • Spitting out blood when you floss or brush your teeth

When To See A Dentist

Periodontitis is a dangerous illness that affects the gums. It can result in permanent tooth loss. See your dentist if you have any indications of gum disease, such as bleeding gums or gum sensitivity. The earlier you get treated, the better your chances of preventing gum disease from worsening and spreading to other parts of your body.

You should also attend regular checkups according to your dentist’s recommendations to keep a check on your dental health.

Once you’ve had treatment, take good care of your teeth and gums to prevent gum disease from happening again.

How Is Periodontitis Diagnosed?

Your dentist will do the following:

  • Inquire about your symptoms and medical background.
  • Look for indications of inflammation in your gums.
  • Check if you have pockets around your teeth using a specific ruler. This test will not harm you.
  • Get an X-ray to check for bone loss if required.
  • Possibly refer you to a periodontist, a gum disease specialist.

If you have periodontitis, inquire about what treatment is best for you and undertake it immediately. Follow the recommendations on what type of toothpaste and floss to use as well as the best way to brush and floss. This will help you prevent the reoccurrence of gum disease.

How Is Periodontitis Treated?

The severity of your gum disease will determine your treatment options. Deep cleaning and surgery are both options for treatment. It is critical to maintain proper dental hygiene after treatment, regardless of the type of treatment. This will help to keep your mouth healthy.

How Does Deep Cleaning Help To Treat Periodontitis?

Plaque is removed through deep cleaning by your dentist. The methods used by providers include scaling and root planning, which can be done with a laser.

Scaling allows for the tartar to be scraped away from both above and below the gum line.

On the other hand, root planning allows for ridding of the rough patches on the teeth’ roots. It aids in the removal of periodontitis-causing germs.

Will I Need Medication For Periodontitis?

Your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic gel or antimicrobial mouthwash. These treatments serve to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth.

Will I Need Periodontitis Surgery?

If you have severe periodontitis, your dentist may suggest that you undergo a:

  • Flap surgery – A procedure in which your periodontist pushes the gums back and removes tartar deposits from the crevices around your teeth. After that, the gums are sutured (sewn) tightly around the teeth.
  • Bone and tissue grafting: A procedure where a natural or synthetic (artificial) bone is used. To stimulate growth, your periodontist grafts the bone or tissue to any areas where they are missing. Your dentist may potentially perform a procedure to aid in the regeneration of gum tissue.

Complications

Periodontitis is a condition that can lead to tooth loss. Gum disease bacteria can enter your blood circulation through your gum tissue, potentially damaging other parts of your body. Periodontitis, for example, has been associated with respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease, and diabetes blood sugar control issues.

Can I prevent periodontitis?

The greatest strategy to avoid gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene from a young age and continue to do so throughout your life. Care for your teeth and gums and keep them healthy.

  • Oral hygiene is essential. Brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day — in the morning and before bed — and flossing once a day are both essential. Flossing before brushing assists you in removing any loose food particles or microorganisms. Good dental care prevents the development of an environment around your teeth that is favorable to certain bacteria that cause periodontal disease.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents cavities.
  • Dental visits should be made on a regular basis. Cleanings should be done every six to twelve months by your dentist or dental hygienist. You may require professional cleaning more frequently if you have risk factors for gum disease, such as having a dry mouth, using certain drugs, or smoking.
  • Quit smoking.

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