Periodontitis is a severely hazardous gum infection that causes bone tissue to erode, which ultimately loosens teeth. Also known as gum disease, it can also lead to tooth loss as a whole. While it's typical, it's also easy enough to prevent in general.
What Causes Periodontitis?
Poor oral hygiene goes a long way when it comes to people developing gum disease. This includes:
- Not brushing at least twice a day
- Not flossing
- Not seeing the dentist regularly
There are other factors that can lead to periodontal disease aside from poor oral care, such as:
- Crooked teeth
- Defective fillings
- Female hormonal changes (oral contraceptives, pregnancy)
- Ill-fitting bridges
- Medications that can lead to dry mouth
- Underlying immunodeficiencies
Plaque is often the initial iteration of periodontitis in the mouth. It's a sticky film generally comprised of unhealthy bacteria. When it's not treated right away, it can escalate into full-blown gum disease.
Many foods have starches and sugars. When these end up interacting with a certain bacteria found in the mouth, plaque can start forming. It's easy to remove this through brushing teeth at least twice a day, paired with daily flossing. Consistency is key because of how fast plaque can regenerate.
Tartar (calculus) is the next phase when plaque isn't properly addressed. It ends up hardening under the gumline when it's on teeth long enough. Tartar is bacteria-filled and far tougher to take away. Damage intensifies the longer plaque and tartar alike stay on teeth. No amount of brushing and flossing takes tartar away. Professional cleaning by a dentist is the only way for tartar to go away.
Gingivitis can occur because of plaque that isn't handled well. Gingivitis is the mildest gum disease out there. The gum tissue around gingiva, the teeth's base, is inflamed and irritated. Professional dental treatment is the only way to handle this, paired with oral care at home.
When gum inflammation drags on, periodontitis will happen. At that point, there will be pockets between the teeth and gums. All of those spaces will end up with bacteria, plaque and tartar. Over time, the pockets will deepen which leaves room for more bacteria. At some point, bone and tissue loss can happen. A tooth or more will likely deteriorate or fall out.
Worst of all, if inflammation is chronic and ongoing, the immune system can be considerably strained.
What Are the Warning Signs Of Periodontal Disease?
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
- Any change in the way a person's teeth fit together when they bite
- Bad breath or bad taste that won’t go away
- Bleeding gums
- Gums that have pulled away from teeth
- Loose teeth
- Painful chewing
- Red or swollen gums
- Risk factors
- Sensitive teeth
- Tender gums
Periodontal disease is more commonly known as gum disease. At worst, it can trigger gingivitis and even lead to loss of teeth. Warning signs include tender gums, bad breath or a bad taste that won't go away and/or any change in the fit of partial dentures or the way a person's teeth fit together when they bite.
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