Periodontal means “around the tooth”
Periodontal disease is also known as gum disease and periodontitis. It is a progressive disease which, if left untreated, may result in tooth loss. The early stages of gum disease are called gingivitis, which begins with the inflammation and irritation of the gingival tissues that surround and support the teeth. The cause of this inflammation is the toxins found in plaque bacteria, which cause an ongoing bacterial infection. The bacterial infection colonizes in the gingival tissue, and deep pockets form between the teeth and the gums. Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Gingivitis is completely reversible. It is treated by regular professional cleanings with your Dental Hygienist, and proper homecare, to ensure your teeth and gums stay as plaque-free as possible. However, if the bacterial infection is allowed to progress, periodontal disease begins to destroy the gums and the underlying bone that holds your teeth in place, inevitably leading to tooth loss. In some cases, the bacteria from this infection can travel to other areas of the body via the bloodstream. This is when periodontal disease has an effect on overall health conditions, such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and can lead to increased risk during pregnancy. Smoking can increase the risk of periodontal disease. Prevention lies in good oral hygiene, a balanced diet and regular dental visits.
Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:
- Bleeding gums– Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
- Loose teeth– When bone is lost due to bacterial infection, the support for the tooth becomes less.
- Bad breath– Bacteria in the mouth can lead to halitosis.
- Pus around the teeth and gums– This is a sign there is an infection present.
- Receding gums– Wearing away of the gum around a tooth.
- Red and puffy gums– Red, bulbous, and sometimes sore gums are not normal.
Genetic and environmental factors are both involved in the onset of gum disease, and in many cases, the risk of developing periodontitis can be significantly lowered by prevention.
At Niagara Dental Centre we have a wonderful team of Dental Hygienists, all fully qualified and excellent in their field, who will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan for your mouth. Achieving optimal oral health is our goal!