What is Periodontitis and What Kind of Oral Hygiene Does It Require?
A serious infection of the gum, periodontitis can cause extensive damage to our teeth and bones if left untreated. However, if we exercise regular oral hygiene and seek help in the initial stage of the disease, the progression of periodontitis can be stopped. So, what are the symptoms of periodontal disease, and what kind of dental hygiene it requires? Let’s look at it below.
The Perfect Conditions for the Onset of Periodontitis
It all starts with an uncontrollable building up of dental plaque, which is a byproduct of the metabolic activity of bacteria that thrives on food debris in our mouth. And while some bacteria are part of the physiological environment in the oral cavity, they will harm our dental health if they overbreed. This is bound to happen if we don’t brush or floss regularly and if we don’t schedule regular dental cleanings.
Gum inflammation or gingivitis is one of the first symptoms of periodontal disease, and it’s characterized by dental pockets and gum bleeding that usually occurs when we brush or floss our teeth.
What are the Symptoms of Periodontitis?
Some of the most common symptoms of periodontitis often include bleeding gums that recede over time, bad breath, bad taste in the mouth, plaque and/or tartar buildup, tender and swollen gums, pain when chewing, and tooth loss, followed by an inflammation response from our body.
The Initial Stage of Periodontitis
In the early stage of the disease, small pockets will form between gum and teeth, and these will be the perfect places for bacteria to live and breed. The immune system will try to fight off the infection but the gum tissue will start to recede. Gum bleeding will occur during flossing or brushing.
Keep in mind that regular visits to your dentist can help him or her detect various early signs of the disease and provide you with adequate pieces of advice on oral hygiene. They will measure your periodontal pockets with a small probe to determine their depth, and clean any existing plaque and tartar. Then, they will probably suggest you have regular dental checkups to make sure your periodontitis doesn’t get worse.
Second or Moderate Stage
During the moderate stage of the disease, you will experience bleeding and pain around the teeth, and gum recession will become more visible. The teeth will start to lose their bone support and the body will produce an immune response to the inflammation, too.
Third or Advanced Stage
In the advanced stage of periodontitis, the connective tissue that helps hold our teeth in place will most likely deteriorate severely. You will experience heavy bleeding, bad breath, and terrible pain while chewing. Unfortunately, this is also followed by the loss of teeth.
In the advanced stage, your dentist might advise you to have flap gum surgery, which includes lifting your gums and cleaning deposits around teeth roots under anesthesia.
Paying Attention to Oral Hygiene is a Must
When we don’t pay enough attention to our daily oral hygiene habits, we will become susceptible to periodontitis. If we don’t brush and floss every day, the bacteria in our mouth will thrive and cause plaque. The plaque will later solidify in contact with our saliva and become tartar, which is the ideal environment for bacterial growth, especially towards the root of a tooth. The body will start to respond to the infection, which will result in inflammation of the gums. The tooth attachment to the bone structure will become compromised due to the formation of periodontal pockets, and we will most likely lose our teeth.
Unsettling as it sounds, the good news is that regular oral hygiene can play a key role in the preservation of our dental health. This includes brushing our teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes. We suggest using a brand of toothpaste that contains baking soda in the pea-sized amount, as it has proved to reduce plaque build ups effectively. Also, you should floss daily, and pull some sort of organic oil (coconut, olive, or sesame) whenever you get the chance, as this folks’ remedy has had great success when it comes to preventing tooth decay, reducing plaque and tartar, and keeping cavities at bay.
What Puts Us at Higher Risk for Periodontal Disease?
As with any other health condition, there are certain bad habits and other medical issues that are deemed high-risk when it comes to periodontitis. These include smoking, obesity, type 2 diabetes, having immune system diseases such as HIV or leukemia, as well as hormonal changes in women conditioned by pregnancy, menopause, or menstruation.
Therefore, you should make sure to refrain from bad habits such as smoking and make sure you eat a balanced diet. If you neglect early signs of periodontitis or decide to ignore it altogether, it might contribute to other dental and health complications such as abscesses, teeth migration, an increased risk of complications during pregnancy, heart disease, and respiratory complications.
Do you have experience with periodontitis? How did you manage to stop the gum disease? Share your story below!