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Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Diseases and Prevention

Periodontal disease is not just one disease, but an entire constellation of them. Each requires a different treatment approach, from prescription mouthwash to major oral surgery to control the disease. Periodontal disease causes more tooth loss in adults over age thirty-five than any other cause, which is why a good oral hygiene regimen is such a vital part of ensuring your mouth stays healthy.

What makes periodontal disease particularly insidious is the fact it happens gradually. Over time, it wears away the support structures of the teeth, gums, and the underlying bone. One of the biggest risk factors is dental plaque, a film that builds up on teeth with improper oral hygiene practices. If not properly removed from the teeth, plaque can harden and adhere to the teeth, causing discoloration and a dark brown, porous substance called calculus among clinicians and tartar to laymen. Brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings and checkups can help keep plaque and tartar buildup under control, reducing the risk of periodontal disease later in life.

Cause Of Periodontal Disease

The primary cause of periodontal disease is bacteria buildup in the mouth and on the teeth. As these microbes go about their life cycle, they produce toxins which react like acid to the gums. This causes swelling and bleeding of the gingival (gum) tissues and is an early warning sign of gingivitis, among other diseases. If not treated, the gums will recede from the teeth and the underlying bone, weakening the support structure of the teeth as they do. In advanced cases, pockets or spaces can form between the teeth and gums, and ultimately result in tooth loss.

Prevention is the best cure for periodontal disease. This includes a conscientious daily regimen of proper brushing and flossing, augmented by regular checkups and cleanings with our periodontist. For some people, even the most stringent oral hygiene routine isn’t enough to prevent periodontal disease, because they are more susceptible because of genetics or other health or medical issues. In these cases, professional care is needed to prevent the progress of periodontal disease.

Lifestyle habits are also a factor in the likelihood or lack thereof of periodontal disease. Many of the lifestyle habits that can cause periodontal disease are preventable, while some are results of other illnesses or diseases. Some of these include:

  • Smoking or use of other tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, snuff, etc.
  • Drinking acidic beverages such as coffee, soda, tea, and fruit juices
  • Unbalanced or poor diet (heavy on fast foods, fried foods, or foods high in sugar)
  • Diabetes
  • Medication
  • Stress and its assorted symptoms, particularly clenching and grinding teeth regularly

If you notice swelling, sensitivity, or bleeding in the gums, a noticeable shrinkage or recession of your gum line, pockets forming around or between teeth in the gingival tissues, or increased tooth pain and sensitivity, these are all warning signs of periodontal disease and should be investigated by our staff at Anthem Periodontal as quickly as possible. Periodontal disease is usually correctable without major intervention provided it’s caught in time. Dr. De Andrade can examine your case and recommend the most efficacious and least invasive treatment options available depending on type, severity, and other factors.

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