Periodontal Maintenance and Oral Hygiene

Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. Periodontal
disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis, is a chronic infection of the
gums caused by bacteria. It can gradually
destroy the support of your natural teeth and lead to tooth loss.
over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from

The following are symptoms to watch for:

  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pus between your teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Separating teeth
  • A change when you bite
  • A change in the fit of your dentures

How the Infection Begins

Bacteria present in dental
plaque, which is a sticky and colorless film, is the primary cause of gum
disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Plaque is constantly forming on
your teeth. If not removed, plaque
hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).

Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition

If the Infection is Left Untreated it Can Progress to Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Gingivitis: Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins and enzymes that irritate the gums. This causes inflammation if plaque is not removed daily, which may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. Gingivitis can be reversed by removing plaque daily and by having your teeth professionally cleaned.

Periodontitis: If gingivitis is prolonged, it can progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a chronic infection in the pockets around the teeth, which comes in many forms. As periodontal diseases progress, which may be painless, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. At this stage, treatment by the dentist is needed. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.