What Is Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease or Gum Disease, is a reaction of the body to sub gingival bacteria, which act together with other factors (stress, smoking, genetic diseases). These bacteria are spread through saliva. Therefore, if one of your family members has periodontal disease, it is better for you to try to avoid the contact with his/her saliva. Sharing cutlery and toothbrushes with other family members should be avoided, in order to prevent contamination with aggressive bacteria.
Signs of a gingival or periodontal problem in your family members can manifest in bleeding, redness, painful and swollen gums or bad breath. It is advisable for all family members to go for a routine check-up at least once a year to detect periodontal disease.
Does periodontal disease affect general health?
Yes. Bacteria that causes periodontal disease are involved in the production of atherosclerosis (narrowing of blood vessels). It also causes high blood pressure and myocardial infarction. There is a proven link between gum disease and pregnant women experiencing premature or a low birth weight. Pregnant women with periodontal disease have a 7 times higher risk of giving birth to premature or underweight children.
Also, gingival bleeding, bone loss around the teeth, and periodontal pockets around them can indicate the onset of diabetes. If you are diabetic, you have a very high risk of developing periodontal disease and therefore preventive measures are needed.
Nothing hurts me. Do I have periodontal disease or not?
Periodontal disease does not hurt. Whether or not you have periodontal disease, this can only be told by your dentist during a simple consultation. The signs of a possible gum problem are: bleeding that occurs when you brush your teeth or spontaneously, unpleasant mouth odour, pain or itching of the gums.
This is a sign that gingivitis has set in. Gum disease is reversible and can be treated by improving oral hygiene and scaling the teeth.
If the inflammation persists for a long time, gingivitis develops into periodontitis, an irreversible inflammatory form. Then the bone is also affected and there are additional withdrawals of the gum from the roots of the teeth. The teeth become mobile and without treatment the patient may end up losing one or several.
There is the aggressive form, which evolves rapidly, found especially in young people (even from 11-13 years). Then there is a chronic form, which has a slower evolution and occurs in adults. Periodontal disease manifests itself in successive stages of activity and rest. When the disease is active, specific signs and symptoms are observed, but if they disappear, it does not mean that the disease has healed on its own, but is going through a period of rest and it continues to evolve, even if the bleeding or pain have disappeared.
Can it be treated?
The treatment of the disease consists in a rigorous cleaning of the pockets (spaces) formed between the gum and the tooth following a local anesthesia, using ultrasonic and manual methods, as well as the laser, and in more advanced cases surgical treatment with bone addition covering the roots or immobilizing the mobile teeth.
From the moment the treatment was successful and the periodontal disease was stopped in evolution, the patients must be evaluated periodically, especially the dental areas where they cannot achieve effective hygiene and which therefore present a risk of disease’s recurrence. The success of the treatment of periodontal disease depends, first of all, on the total cooperation of the patient, by maintaining a rigorous hygiene, not only on the experience of the dentist. Therefore, even if you have not observed clear symptoms of periodontal disease, it may be present, and its early detection by a doctor, through a routine check, can prevent tooth loss.
Article written by Dr. Simona Bugaciu, Dentist at Dental Tech Group
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