The term periodontal disease, also referred to as gum disease is made of two separate words with separate meanings. ‘Perio’ which means around, and ‘dontal’ which means teeth. So essentially, periodontal disease simply means an infection of the gum surrounding the teeth. it is a progressive condition that affects both children and adults. If left untreated, it can quickly and very easily destroy soft tissue around the teeth. But forget about treatment for a while. Is periodontal disease preventable? The answer is yes. Read on to learn more.
It is a mild irritation/inflammation of the gum as a result of excess plaque inside the mouth. The disease should not worry you so much because of all periodontal diseases, it is the mildest. Make no mistake though. Leaving it untreated can easily lead to serious dental complications. To make sure it does not get worse, have it treated as soon as you notice its first symptoms which include swelling of the gums, bleeding, redness and tenderness of the gums and bad breath.
It is what happens when gingivitis is left untreated. Periodontitis does not just affect gums. It also affects the bones as well as their surrounding tissues. The disease is serious as its starts by gradually pulling gum tissues away from the teeth. It then forms pocket like structures between gums and teeth where bacteria thrive. Over time, the pocket-like structures lead to periodontal damage and eventually, loss of teeth.
Note that gingivitis may not cause unbearable pain as it is often the case with many dental conditions. This is in fact, why gingivitis can easily progress to periodontitis without the patient’s knowledge. The patient will most likely note symptoms though which include gum redness and soreness, bad breath, persistent metallic taste, sensitive teeth and in some cases, pus.
It is the very last stage of periodontal disease. To put it into perspective, periodontal disease features three main stages. The first one is gingivitis, followed by acute periodontitis and finally chronic or advanced periodontal disease. It occurs mostly in adults. It is mostly characterized by receding and bleeding gums as well as formation of the aforementioned pocket like structures between gums and teeth.
It all boils down to how well a person observes oral hygiene. Then there is the fact that with periodontal disease, routine and scheduled visits to the dentist can come in handy as far as prevention is concerned. It is easy to understand why. Once a dentist diagnoses a patient with gingivitis, treatment begins right away. This prevents gingivitis from progressing to periodontitis.
Your habits can also play a role in determining how well you can avoid periodontal disease. Sugary and foods that are rich in starch make it easy for bacteria to thrive inside the mouth. Smoking has also been proven to be a risk factor. Other risk factors include age and genetics to some extent. Either way, your dentist is best placed to advice on how well and how best you can prevent periodontal diease. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss regularly.