Periodontal disease is an unfortunately common condition that can cause irreversible damage to the teeth, gums, and bone. In retrospect, periodontal disease is preventable with regular and effective dental care. There are three main types of periodontal disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Within each type there are also differing stages of infection.
Periodontal disease is a group of inflammatory diseases that affect the oral tissues supporting the teeth. Pathogenic bacteria left undisturbed in the plaque and tartar around the mouth cause an inflammatory response in the gums, which leads to the destruction of bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place.
- Gingivitis is caused by inflammation from plaque buildup around the gumline; this inflammation can be completely reversed with good oral hygiene and regular dental care. Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease but if it is left untreated it will lead to periodontitis. Gingivitis can cause the gums to become dark pink, swollen, and bleed easily or it can have no symptoms at all.
- Acute Periodontitis is typically milder than advanced periodontal disease but can turn into Chronic periodontitis if it is left untreated. Chronic Periodontitis progresses slowly over time to destroy the gum tissue and bone around the teeth.
If you have chronic periodontitis, your body’s response to the bacteria in your mouth is to produce more inflammatory cytokines and injury to the gum tissue. This leads to more bone loss. If left untreated, chronic periodontitis can cause tooth loss. Gum disease and tooth loss are more common among adults over age 65, but you should seek treatment immediately with the slightest symptom, if you’re younger because early detection and treatment are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums throughout your lifetime.
While periodontal disease is often thought of as a problem for adults, it can begin at any age. In fact, research shows that gum disease may be linked to diabetes and other chronic conditions in children.
- Advanced periodontitis involves both loss of bone support around teeth as well as rapid destruction of connective tissue attachment sites within periodontal pockets. Rapid destruction of soft tissue and bone around a tooth or several teeth is a serious concern. This type of inflammation not only causes the gums to pull away from the bone that supports them but allows bacteria a place to hide and progressively mutate leading to not only oral infection but the potential for systemic infection in other parts of the body.
- Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day (ideally in the morning and before bed). When plaque forms on the teeth and gums, it can irritate gum tissue. The body responds with a chronic inflammatory reaction.
**Plaque is a sticky film full of bacteria that forms on your teeth every day. It’s not harmful in and of itself, but it can cause gum disease when it builds up.**
- Use fluoride toothpaste to help prevent cavities.
- Upgrade to an electric toothbrush for more accountability in brushing for the recommended 2 minutes and to help remove more plaque and tartar.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Cut back on smoking and drinking alcohol; both are harmful to oral health.
- If you have diabetes or heart disease, maintain good blood sugar levels through diet and exercise.
- Limit sugar and starchy carbs—these make plaque more likely to adhere to your teeth, which leads to cavities.
- If you snack frequently, try chewing sugar-free gum enhanced with xylitol in between.
When Should One See their Dentist about Gum Disease?
- When you experience bleeding gums when brushing or flossing. This could mean that plaque has built up around your teeth and is irritating them enough to cause bleeding—or it could mean that you are brushing too hard or not brushing long enough.
The Sooner You Receive Treatment for Gum Disease the Better
The longer you wait, the more damage is done. When this happens, treatment becomes more challenging, time consuming and expensive. If you are experiencing symptoms noted above, it is imperative to consult with a Los Angeles dentist right away. Untreated teeth can lead to severe dental problems and other health issues. For further information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Moradzadeh please contact Crystal Dental Center at 213.748.8448 or visit www.CrystalDentalCenters.com to learn more.
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