13 January 2023
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a common condition that affects the tissues and bones supporting the teeth. It is caused by the build-up of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and potentially have serious effects on overall systemic health.
There are two main stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and is characterized by inflammation of the gums. It is often caused by poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing and flossing regularly. In the early stages, gingivitis can be reversed with proper dental care and improved oral hygiene.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. Periodontitis occurs when the bacteria in plaque spreads below the gum line and begins to attack the supporting structures of the teeth, including the bones and connective tissue. This can lead to the formation of pockets around the teeth, which can become infected and cause further damage.
Periodontal disease has been linked to a number of systemic health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections. Research has shown that people with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. The bacteria from gum disease can enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body, potentially contributing to the development of these conditions.
There are several risk factors for periodontal disease, including tobacco use, poor nutrition, hormonal changes, certain medications, and genetics. People with diabetes are particularly at risk for gum disease due to their compromised immune systems. It is important for individuals with diabetes to carefully manage their blood sugar levels and receive regular dental care to prevent gum disease.
It is important to catch and treat periodontal disease in its early stages in order to prevent further damage. Some signs of gum disease include red, swollen, or tender gums; bleeding while brushing or flossing; persistent bad breath; and loose or shifting teeth. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a dentist as soon as possible.
Treatment for gum disease may include a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar, scaling and root planing to smooth the roots of the teeth and help gums reattach, and the use of antibiotics to kill bacteria. In severe cases, gum surgery may be necessary to remove infected tissue and help the gums heal.
Preventing gum disease is crucial for maintaining overall oral and systemic health. Good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing regularly and visiting the dentist for regular cleanings, can help prevent the build-up of plaque and the development of gum disease. It is also important to eat a healthy diet and avoid tobacco use to maintain healthy gums.
If you are concerned about your gum health or are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, it is important to see a dentist as soon as possible. The team at KA Dental in West Palm Beach, FL is dedicated to helping patients achieve and maintain good oral health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards improving your gum health and overall systemic health.