Periodontal disease: causes, symptoms, treatments and prevention
Did you know that after cavities, periodontal disease is the most common oral problem in adults and the elderly? However, periodontal disease is largely unknown to the general public, resulting in delayed diagnosis which can lead to worsening of the disease for many people. Let’s demystify everything there is to know about periodontal disease!
The two main periodontal diseases are gingivitis and periodontitis. In both cases, we are talking about chronic bacterial infections that lead to the degradation of the supporting tissues of the tooth, namely the gums, but also the bones.
The causes of periodontal disease
As mentioned above, periodontal disease is caused by bacteria, which are present due to the build-up of dental plaque. Poor oral hygiene is therefore a main cause. Certain factors can worsen the progression of the disease: tartar build-up, smoking, stress, clenching teeth, certain medications and certain diseases such as diabetes.
Symptoms of periodontal disease
Gingivitis is the most common form, but also one that people don’t take seriously enough. Only the gums are affected by the disease. They are red, swollen, and bleed more easily. Some people experience increased sensitivity of the teeth and some also notice bad breath. These are all signals to be taken seriously.
Gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. At this point, the entire attachment system of the tooth is affected. By taking an x-ray, we will then see periodontal pockets, that is to say pockets between the root of the tooth and the gum. In addition to the symptoms of gingivitis, patients with periodontitis notice movement in their teeth. Some can move, or even fall if the disease is very advanced. In fact, periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults!
Treatments for periodontal disease
The good news is that gingivitis is reversible if diagnosed on time. With improved oral hygiene, one can find a healthy mouth! It is important to go see your dentist, who will do a good deep cleaning and will give you the maintenance advice you need to maintain good gum health.
For periodontitis, treatments vary depending on how advanced the disease is. This can range from more or less minor interventions, to surgery to reshape the supporting tissues of the tooth, or even a graft if necessary. As each case is unique, your dentist will be in the best position to assess your situation and advise you on the appropriate treatment.
Prevention of periodontal disease
We can’t repeat it enough: Oral hygiene is the # 1 preventative act for almost all dental problems, and periodontal disease is no exception. Periodontal disease can be prevented by brushing your teeth several times a day, long enough and with the right technique, and flossing daily. Stopping smoking is also a very helpful factor. Finally, do not forget to make a regular appointment with your dentist in Laval for a complete cleaning.