The symptoms of periodontal disease or inflamed gums are bleeding, red swollen gums and (increasingly) loose teeth? In the worst case, you could lose your teeth. Good oral hygiene is essential.
How do you get periodontal disease?
In fact, periodontal disease is a result of poor oral hygiene. Proper brushing prevents periodontal disease. But it takes more. You should also go to the dentist for a check-up on time.
It is a misunderstanding that everyone gets periodontitis at an older age . It is not an age-related disease. It’s really a matter of cleaning and keeping it clean. Periodontal disease is a serious inflammation of the gums that also affects the bone. If you brush properly, you will not get an infection. It does exist: you can still have beautiful, natural teeth at the age of eighty.
So anyone can get periodontal disease. It is only genetically determined in a limited part of the population. It can be prevented by not leaving bacteria in one place for too long. So brush!
How does gingivitis occur?
The cause is that the plaque around and between the teeth is not sufficiently removed. Bacteria then settle between the teeth and cause the gums to become diseased. If this lasts long enough and/or occurs often enough, periodontal disease will develop.
How common is periodontal disease?
- About 70% of people suffer from gum problems.
- 90% of 35 to 44 year olds experience bleeding gums without bone destruction.
- Of that 90%, half have periodontal disease, which manifests itself in bleeding gums with bone destruction.
- Of that 50%, 10% have severe periodontal disease, which means that the risk of tooth loss is very likely.
Who is more at risk for periodontal disease?
Certain population groups are more at risk of (severe) gingivitis:
- pregnant women for example. That is why it is important to ensure that your gums are in good condition before you become pregnant.
- Smokers also develop periodontal disease more quickly. The tar in tobacco makes the tooth surface rougher, which is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, which can then adhere better. In addition, nicotine thickens the walls of the blood vessels, which means it takes longer for the body to tackle the inflammation itself. As a result, people heal more slowly.
- Even those who are stressed are more likely to suffer from periodontal disease as stress undermines our immune system.
- Those who suffer from diabetes must also be alert to periodontal disease, because in diabetics the blood vessel walls are thickened as a result of the sugar. The small blood vessels, present en masse in the gums, then clog easily, causing inflammation to heal more slowly.
Symptoms of inflamed gums?
Periodontal disease initially causes no symptoms at all. You will only notice that something is wrong with your gums over time if you notice bleeding gums when brushing, receding gums or smelly breath. As the gums recede, the roots will become increasingly exposed. The teeth are then sensitive when brushing or when consuming hot or cold drinks. But you can also suffer from periodontal disease without these symptoms. Loose teeth can also be an indication of periodontal disease, but then the disease is already in an advanced stage.
Periodontitis also eventually affects the bone, a process that is unfortunately irreversible. After all, the body does not produce new bone itself. In this context, it is also important how much bone you naturally have and how long your roots are. If you have a lot of bone mass and short roots, dentures will fit or implants may be possible.
Consult a periodontist or dentist?
The periodontist is the most appropriate practitioner if the disease has progressed too far. In that case, the dentist or dental hygienist will refer you to a periodontist. If the gums have not receded too much (pockets up to 4.5 mm), this can in principle still be treated by the dentist. But while the dentist can go a long way, he cannot always treat periodontal disease successfully.
The periodontist also removes plaque and bacteria from teeth and tooth roots. Tartar remains and bacteria found in deep pockets and at root branches can only be removed after exposure. To this end, the affected root surfaces are cleaned under local anesthesia through a minor surgical procedure (refolding of the gums).