: Preventing Gum Disease - Periodontics of Southern Illinois

Preventing Gum Disease

Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.
In the mildest form of the disease, referred to as “gingivitis”, the gums redden, swell and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is often reversible with professional treatment and good home care.

Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. Over time, plaque will spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. The bone loss occurs and gum tissue swells, forming periodontal pockets around your teeth. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often this destructive process has mild symptoms, but eventually, teeth will become loose and may have to be removed.

The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Periodontal disease is a multi-factorial disease. Many factors affect your periodontal condition. Periodontal disease has always been referred to as the “silent disease” because many people do not realize they have the disease. Three out of four adults are affected with periodontal disease at some time in their life. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some forms of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts professional intervention by your dentist and periodontist is required to properly prevent its progress.