Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease or periodontitis affects the connective tissue that links the teeth to the bone, its main symptom being progressive bone loss. Left untreated, periodontitis leads eventually to the loss of the teeth.
This disease is characterized by massive bacteria growths located either between the teeth or along the gum line. In severe cases, teeth start to become loose, the ultimate consequence being their loss. About 50% of all people over 30 years of age suffer from a mild form of periodontal disease.
This condition is thought to affect more those people who have suffered from gingivitis, which is the inflammation of the gum tissue. Among the other risk factors there are smoking, poorly managed diabetes, improper oral hygiene and genetic factors.
The bacteria growth and buildup along the gum line and between teeth lead to the formation of bacterial plaque which eventually hardens and turns into dental calculus if not removed regularly.
Symptoms of gum disease include swelling and bleeding of the gums, redness of the gum tissue, bad breath, and pockets at the base of the teeth where the bone has already been affected by the disease. In later stages, patients experience total or partial loss of teeth.
Preventative hygiene measures are by far the best way to keep this condition at bay. These include:
- brushing your teeth after each meal or twice a day minimum
- flossing or using interdental brushes
- use of antiseptic mouthwash
- professional teeth cleaning done by a dentist or an oral hygienist
Moreover, you need to learn the correct brushing techniques, in order for the bristles to be able to reach below the gum line and to dismantle plaque deposits and food debris. The breaking up of these deposits where bacteria develop is extremely important. Where spaces between teeth allow for it, you should use an interdental brush.
Correct flossing techniques can also be quite effective in breaking up these bacterial deposits. A mouthwash containing chlorhexidine gluconate can also help stopping bacterial growth. Alcohol based mouthwash should be avoided.
Island Dental Associates is here to help people in the Nassau County area avoid gum disease. Schedule a free consultation with our board certified periodontist today to go over all the best options for preventing and/or treating periodontal disease.