Your gum tissue and bone should adapt snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. Your gums and bone are ‘attached’ to your teeth, creating a tight seal so that bacteria cannot pass under the gums. The active periodontal disease destroys and ‘detaches’ your gums and bone from your teeth, forming ‘pockets’ which allows bacteria to enter and travel deeper and deeper under the gums, creating a periodontal infection.
The deeper the pockets become, the larger space for bacteria to live. Over time this results in further bone and tissue loss as well as more rapid loss due to the higher number of bacteria. Inevitably, if too much bone is lost, teeth become loose and may need to be extracted. This is an unfortunate progression of periodontal disease that can often be avoided with periodontal therapy.
Periodontal disease has often been implicated with diabetes, heart disease, oral cancer, and other medical problems. Research has shown that periodontal health and therapy can help improve these conditions. Here at PerioLife, we are dedicated to promoting oral health as well as overall well being.
Types of Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care. Factors that may contribute to gingivitis include diabetes, smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body, in essence, turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms in even severe cases of the disease. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Periodontitis is typically caused by poor dental hygiene. When you don't brush your teeth and clean in hard-to-reach places in your mouth, the following happens: The bacteria in your mouth multiply and form a substance known as dental plaque.
The key thing to reversing gum disease is removing the tartar that's present on both the root of your teeth and under your gum line. Periodontitis can't be reversed, only slowed down, while gingivitis can be reversed.
If left untreated, gum disease – also known as periodontal disease – can result in substantial health issues and make individuals more susceptible to a range of conditions, including cancer of the kidney, pancreas and blood.
● Gingivitis. This is the mildest form of periodontal disease. The gum becomes irritated and swollen (inflamed). ...
● Periodontitis. Infection and inflammation spread to the bone supporting the teeth.
● Advanced periodontitis. As periodontitis advances, pockets deepen even more and can fill with pus.
Most patients with periodontitis exhibit swollen, dark red, sensitive, or receding gums. Other common symptoms include the development of pus-filled cysts (sacs) in the gum tissue, tooth decay, loose teeth, gaps between the teeth, exposed tooth roots due to gum recession, and tooth loss.
In fact, most cases of chronic periodontitis are successfully managed by mechanical removal/reduction of bacterial mass and calculus in the subgingival environment by scaling and root planing.
If gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, the disease causes irreversible damage to the gums and the bone. When this happens, the teeth become loose and might even fall out. If they don't fall out, they will likely have to be removed by a dentist. You want to prevent this if possible.
In many people, this is a gradual process that takes place over many years. However, some young adults have a very active form of the disease, which causes early loosening and loss of the teeth. Around 40 percent of people suffer from periodontitis.
1. Have your gums and dental tissues evaluated by a periodontist and have treatment completed as indicated.
2. Brush your teeth twice a day or, better yet, after every meal or snack.
3. Use a soft toothbrush and replace it at least every three months.
4. Consider using an electric toothbrush, which may be more effective at removing plaque and tartar.
5. Floss daily.
To date, scientists have found links between periodontal disease and a number of other problems, including:
● Heart disease.
● Rheumatoid arthritis.
● Premature birth.