Understanding and Preventing Periodontal Disease

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease, is a major problem among adults. Most people do not realize they are at risk, and they often do not get regular dental check-ups.

Besides, people do not understand the serious consequences of allowing gum disease to proliferate. Gum disease is known to be a contributing factor in diabetes, heart disease and strokes. Therefore, it is critical to make dental hygiene a priority and include dental exams.

Common Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease is usually painless in early stages and may develop slowly. Since it is harder to treat once the damage is done, the earlier it is caught, the better the prognosis.

Some symptoms to look for are:

  • Bad breath
  • A chronic bitter taste
  • Gum recession
  • Loose teeth and bleeding gums
  • Bleeding gums

Contrary to popular belief, bleeding gums are not caused by overly brushing, but, rather, by inadequate/infrequent brushing and not flossing between teeth. If you have any of these symptoms of gum disease, you should consult your dentist as soon as possible.

Who are at a Greater Risk of Being Affected by Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an equal opportunity disease that can affect anyone regardless of age, race, sex, etc. However, the risks of contracting this oral disease are greater if there is a history of gum disease in the family and among smokers and those with heart disease, strokes, and diabetes.

Also, many are not aware that the bacteria can be passed through saliva, which includes sharing drinks and kissing.

Connection Between Gum Disease and Other Serious Diseases

It is crucial to understand the relationship between periodontal disease and other serious health conditions.

Patients with diabetes are at higher risk for gum disease. Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar levels and make the damage harder to control for patients with Type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that people with moderate or advanced gum (periodontal) disease are more likely to have heart disease than those with healthy gums.

While the exact relationship may not be understood, the data suggests that those with diabetes, heart problems, uremia, liver cirrhosis, anemia, and leukemia are more at the risk for periodontal disease than others.

Non-Surgical Treatment of Gum Disease

A non-surgical way of treating gum disease is by performing root planning or “deep cleaning,” irrigating the gum pockets to flush out any debris, and finally treating with localized antibiotics or laser therapy.

Antibiotics are placed directly into the gum pocket, and the medicine is released over time. Once treatment is done, the patient will be put on an estimated three or four-month cleaning schedule. This procedure will ensure that the plaque and tartar build-up is under control.

Regular Dental Exams and Good Oral Health can Prevent Gum Disease

The good news is that people who get regular dental exams and maintain good oral hygiene can avoid periodontal disease.

7 Day Dental recommends professional teeth cleaning and a thorough dental exam at least twice a year. The exams include measuring the pockets between your teeth and gums as well as periodic X-ray. If there is evidence of gum disease, your dentist will recommend further treatment.

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