Oral health is often neglected as a part of general health. While we emphasize other health aspects, we fail to identify oral problems that build up over time. If you think just brushing teeth daily is sufficient to protect them against oral diseases, you are wrong. Don’t forget that your mouth is the first entrance to the body from where most bacteria and germs enter. Maintaining oral health means restricting entry and preventing many diseases. Most people with existing periodontitis condition revealed that they ignored the initial signs of poor oral health that led to this gum disease. In this article, Dr. Kaushambi Sharma, Endodontist at Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital, Pune, explains everything about periodontitis. To know how it is caused and tips for prevention, keep reading this article.
What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a very common gum disease that infects the soft tissue of the gum, and if not treated on time, can also destroy the bone that supports the tissue. It can also lead to the loss of teeth. This is a common disease but can also be prevented easily. Not taking care of your oral hygiene results in periodontitis. Brushing the teeth two times a day can help in the prevention of periodontitis. A regular visit to the dentist can also help in preventing the loss of teeth and also reduce the chance of developing this disease.
Periodontitis Symptoms & Causes
Some of the most important symptoms & causes of Periodontitis are as follows:
- Bleeding of the gum
- Swelling of the gums
- Bad breath
- Pain while chewing the food
- Loss of teeth
- Change in the colour of gums to purple or bright red
- Change in colour of the toothbrush after brushing of the teeth
- Pus in between the gums and the teeth
- Space develops in between the teeth
- Gums become tender in nature
- Bleeding of teeth when flossing your teeth
- Change in the shape of teeth as they start to look a little longer gingival recession
A regular visit to the dentist is important if one wants to stay away from oral diseases. In case if one notices any symptoms or causes, make sure that you make an appointment with the doctor as soon as possible to avoid loss of teeth.
How Periodontitis is caused?
In most cases, it usually starts with a plaque, this is a sticky film that is formed on the surface of the teeth. It is formed when sugary substances react with bacteria on your teeth. It is advised to brush your teeth twice a day so as to avoid the formation of plaque on the teeth. Since plaque re-forms easily again, it is advised to do flossing at least once in a day & brushing twice a day. If plaque stays for a longer time, it tends to harden around your gumline resulting in the formation of tartar on the surface of the teeth. Tartar is even more difficult to remove as compared to a plaque. If they stay for a longer time, they tend to damage your teeth more. In order to remove tartar, professional help is required.
If not treated, plaque can also cause gingivitis. It is another form of severe gum disease. In this disease, inflammation is caused by the tissue surrounding the gum and requires professional care. The pockets developed around the teeth lead to plaque and tartar which if not treated can lead to loss of bone and tissue and the person may also lose their tooth. Besides loss of a tooth, the bacteria may also affect your other parts of the body as well.
Risk factors for Periodontitis
There are certain factors that lead to one’s high risk of an increase in periodontitis. These are as follows:
- Smoking and drug use
- Not taking care of your oral hygiene
- Changes in hormones
- Diseases like diabetes require immediate attention to oral care
- Lack of Vitamin C in the diet
Stages of periodontitis
It starts as inflammation and later on develops into gum disease. This happens with people who do not take care of their oral health. Lets us tell you how healthy gums progress into periodontal gums.
Inflammation or gingivitis
The initial stage of periodontitis is inflammation. This is one of the first signs of oral health decline. Gum inflammation is also referred to as gingivitis. If your gums bleed during brushing or flossing, it could be due to inflammation. Along with inflammation, you may also experience tooth discolouration which is due to plaque buildup. This is the layer of food debris and bacteria on teeth. Poor dental cleaning is the main cause of plaque buildup therefore it is advised to keep your mouth clean.
Early periodontal disease
In the early stage, the gums would pull away from the teeth or recede. This would cause the formation of small pockets or spaces between gums and teeth. Bacteria, food debris then harbour in these spaces. In order to fight this infection, your immune system would act and cause a recession of gum tissues. You may experience gum bleeding along with some bone loss during flossing and brushing.
Moderate periodontal disease
As the disease progress, not just gum bleeding but you may also experience bleeding around the teeth with acute pain. This infection causes bone loss and your teeth may become loose due to poor bone support.
Advanced periodontal disease
When periodontitis reaches the advanced stage, it causes deterioration of connective tissues that grip teeth from the gums. In short, all the support to your teeth including tissues, bones and gums is destroyed by this infection. Periodontitis would not only cause loosening of the teeth but also bad breath, severe tooth pain, foul taste, etc. People with advanced periodontal disease are highly likely to lose their teeth.
Treatment for Periodontitis
When asked about how periodontitis can be treated, Dr. Kaushambi Sharma laid these pointers:
Follow a good oral hygiene schedule: Make sure that you brush your teeth for two minutes every single day. Brush your teeth once in the morning and brush your teeth once in the evening. Floss once a day before you brush your teeth. Maintaining good oral hygiene creates an environment that does not favor the growth of the bacteria.
Visiting the dentist regularly: Once every 6 to 12 months, make sure that you visit the dentist. And in case one comes across symptoms, then you should not refrain from visiting the dentist.
Dental Cleaning: It is important that you go to a dentist for a regular dental cleaning session. This helps in removing plaque before it develops into gingivitis and progresses to periodontitis. If you notice tooth discolouration or plaque buildup, consult your dentist and get a cleaning to prevent gum disease.
This was all about periodontitis as explained by an endodontist. This is a chronic gum disease that starts with gum bleeding, inflammation and then advances to gingivitis and periodontitis. People often ignore the initial signs of a gum disease thinking it to be normal until they are diagnosed by a dentist. Gum diseases not only affect oral health but also general health as these triggers many other diseases. Periodontitis and systemic diseases are also associated with one another. Therefore, we must maintain oral hygiene and report any problem to the dentist to identify it at the initial level. This helps in preventing the problem of healthy teeth and gums.
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