Periodontal Disease and Treatment
According to some estimates, at least 80% of the population has some degree of periodontal disease. This incredibly common oral health problem is caused by bacteria, which the mouth has an almost constant supply of. The bacteria in your mouth is infamous for causing another common oral health problem—tooth decay—but also contributes to gum disease by producing a sticky “plaque” that builds up around teeth at the gum line. Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, will usually begin the process of periodontal disease and is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gum tissue. Gingivitis may develop into periodontitis due to poor oral hygiene, familial tendency, lack of professional dental care and other factors. If left untreated, gum disease can even lead to adult tooth loss.
Detecting periodontal disease takes a dentist or hygienist, especially in its earliest stages. During your initial and subsequent dental exams, you will be informed of any evidence of gingivitis or periodontal disease. Regular cleanings are generally sufficient to treat gingivitis; however, if signs of periodontal disease are present, your dental professional may want to provide additional therapy, such as root planing.
Gum Disease and Your Overall Health
Studies also suggest there may be a link between the periodontal disease and other health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and prenatal problems such as low birth weight babies. How is that possible? In patients with advanced periodontal disease, there are pockets between the teeth and gums. These pockets give bacteria a way into the bloodstream and from there to other parts of the body.
To protect your oral and overall health, regular dental exams and cleanings are critical. It’s just as critical that you follow a thorough cleaning routine at home. Thankfully, gum disease can be treated and prevented with special toothbrushes, toothpastes, rinses, and even prescription medications. Dr. Baldwin will work with you to help you choose the appropriate treatment method.
In the meantime, make a daily habit of brushing twice with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth with floss. An antibacterial mouthwash will also help you keep your smile clean. Lastly, we recommend a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar and carbohydrates.