Many people have heard of periodontal disease, but don’t understand what it really is. The word periodontal is derived from Latin and is translated to “around teeth.” Periodontal disease categorizes infections that occur in the structures that surround the teeth. This includes the gums, alveolar bone, and periodontal ligament.
In a study conducted in 1999, researchers found that more than half of Americans over the age of 30 had gums that bled. Bleeding gums is so common that many people believe that it isn’t even an issue. However, bleeding gums can be a sign of gingivitis, one of the earliest signals that you may have periodontal disease. Gingivitis affects the gums, but as periodontal disease progresses, all of the tissues are adversely affected. If you notice that you have bleeding gums, it is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor and make sure that you get your regular checkups every six months.
Additional signs of periodontal disease include:
Red, swollen or tender gums
Receding gums, or gums that are separating and pulling away from the base of the tooth
Loose permanent teeth
Bad breath that is not resolved with brushing or flossing
Sores or open wounds in the mouth
Changes in your bite pattern or the fit of your dentures
Researchers had debated the actual cause of periodontal disease for a long time. Now, most dentists agree that the condition is caused by different types of bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria are in plaque. Plaque is the sticky substance that is found on your teeth before you brush.
While there are several things that you can do to avoid periodontal disease, some populations are more likely to be affected. While the complete reasoning behind these connections isn’t always understood, the research shows that there is some type of correlation.
Genetics – approximately 30% of the population is more prone to periodontal disease
Smoking or tobacco use – Smoking tends to lead to lower overall oral health. This aids the formation of plaque and bacteria that can cause periodontal disease.
Misaligned teeth or dental work – When your teeth aren’t straight, properly cleaning them can be very difficult. This allows bacteria to stay on the teeth for longer periods of time and can eventually cause periodontal disease.
Stress – Stress has a negative impact on your immune system. This means that your body is not able to fight off some of the potential infections which raises your risk of getting periodontal disease.
Improper Nutrition – Individuals that eat foods that are higher in fats and sugars introduce more potential fuel for bacteria to multiply. This leads to more potential for infection in the mouth.
If you feel that you may already be showing signs of periodontal disease or just want to make sure that your mouth is in top condition, there are a few simple guidelines.
Brush Your Teeth – Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes. You should use a toothpaste that fights cavities and helps to restore the enamel. Typically, these toothpastes carry the ADA seal and contain some level of fluoride.
Floss Your Teeth – You should floss your teeth once a day. If you have questions about the proper flossing technique, have your dentist give you some tips and review your approach.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly – You should see your dentist once every six months for a regular checkup. This allows your dental hygienist to clear away any of the buildup on your teeth and to catch problems when they are small
Stop Smoking – Smoking is one of the leading factors when people have poor oral health and periodontal disease. If you need help to quit, talk to your dentist to get more information.
If you show any of the signs of periodontal disease, it is important to schedule an appointment today. The sooner that your dentist can intervene, the more likely treatment is to be successful. Call an experienced representative of Bronxville Family Dental today to schedule your appointment. You will later be thankful you did!