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Understanding And Preventing Periodontitis (Gum Disease)

Did you know that periodontal disease is one of the major reasons for adult tooth loss In fact, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, 75 percent of American adults have some form of periodontitis, and a majority of them are unaware of it. Could you be one of the 75 percent? If you have one or more of these symptoms you could be at risk for periodontitis.

  • Gums bleeding upon brushing eating
  • Gums swollen or tender
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Sores in mouth
  • Gums receding or teeth appearing longer

Periodontal disease or periodontits is caused by plaquethe sticky, colorless film that attaches to your teeth. Plaque is bacteria that gets underneath you gums and causes them to become irritated and inflamed. Over time plaque releases a toxin that eats away at your bone and tissues that surrounds the tooth. When the bone and tissue are broken down, it forms pockets in you gums which cause your teeth to become loose. Without proper oral hygiene and treatment with a dentist, the periodontitis will rapidly progress and eventually lead to early tooth loss.

Not only does periodontitis lead to tooth loss, but recent studies have shown a correlation between periodontal disease and systemic diseases. There has been a strong link between the bacteria associated with periodontitis and that which causes cardiovascular disease, uncontrolled diabetes, respiratory disease and low birth weight among infants. The bacteria in periodontitis can travel in the bloodstream and attach to plaques in the heart, thereby forming clots, and causing heart attacks. In addition, people with diabetes are more likely to develop periodontitis due their increased risk in infections. Studies are also being conducted between the link of gum disease and women giving birth to babies with low birth weight. According to the American academy of Periodontology, pregnant women with periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to give birth to babies too early or too small. With all these risk factors how can periodontitis be avoided or treated?

Periodontitis can be detected and treated early by visiting a dentist. Periodontitis is detected by a dentist by using a dental probe. A probe is an instrument that measures the pockets in your gums. Measurements of onetothree mm are considered normal; measurements above three mm are an indication of periodontal disease. Periodontitis is generally treated by scaling and root planing of the teeth, which will rid the mouth of plaque and calculus (hardened plaque) underneath the gums. Sometimes, adjunctive therapy (such as antimicrobial medicaments) are placed in the gums to kill the bacteria. In severe cases of periodontitis, gum surgery may be required. It is also the patients responsibility to maintain good home care, by brushing and flossing twice a day, and avoiding smoking, which can increase infection. Finally, it is important to have routine checkups and cleanings every six months to decrease your chances of developing gum disease. Besides, your teeth are the only set of teeth you will have, isn't it worth it for you to have your beautiful smile for the rest of your life?


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