What Causes Periodontal Disease And How To Prevent And Treat It

Posted on: 20 November 2017

When you visit your dentist for your regular checkup, your dentist probably talks to you about the importance of good oral hygiene so you can prevent gum disease. Your dentist may even notice signs of early gum disease and stress how important regular dental cleanings, brushing, and flossing is to reversing your symptoms, so the gum disease doesn't progress into something more serious. If you get lax about going to the dentist and brushing regularly, gum disease can cause infections in the bone under your teeth, and it can even cause tooth loss. Here's how gum disease, or periodontal disease, develops and what you can do to prevent and treat it: 

What Causes Gum Disease

Every time you eat, starches and sugars cling to the surfaces of your teeth. These substances are good breeding grounds for bacteria that lead to cavities and gum disease. The bacteria multiply and form plaque that can be removed each time you brush thoroughly. Plaque is always quick to return, so frequent brushing is needed to keep it at bay. When plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar. Tartar develops around, and under the gums, so it is very irritating and causes inflammation. Tartar also attracts more bacteria, so the infection spreads deeper under your gums. The infection and destruction of tissue from the bacteria cause bone erosion and loose teeth.

Before gum disease becomes that advanced, your gums will pull away from your teeth and form pockets that fill with bacteria, which makes it difficult to control the advancing infection by brushing alone. Symptoms of periodontal disease include bleeding gums, red and swollen gums, loose teeth, shifting teeth, and bad breath. A common cause of periodontal disease is not brushing and flossing regularly. However, lifestyle choices such as smoking, and medical conditions such as diabetes, can make you more susceptible to developing this condition.

How Gum Disease Is Prevented And Treated

Good oral hygiene is necessary for the prevention of periodontal disease. This means you should brush at least twice daily and see your dentist on schedule. If you have a medical condition that makes you more likely to develop gum disease, let your dentist know so he or she can educate you on ways to keep your gums healthy. Periodontal disease treatment depends on the severity of your condition. The early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis. This stage can usually be treated by having your teeth professionally cleaned followed by faithful brushing and flossing at home. You may need a deep cleaning procedure called scaling that scrapes tartar out from below the gums. These treatments can often reverse gum disease unless it has advanced to later stages. More advanced gum disease could require surgery to save your teeth and prevent further bone loss.

Seeing your dentist regularly is important since your dentist can pick up on early signs of periodontal disease. However, if you notice blood when brushing your teeth or if your gums seem inflamed and sore, be sure to see your dentist for an evaluation of your condition.