What Is Periodontal Disease? If your hands were to bleed when you washed them, you’d be concerned, right? Most people do not think it’s a big deal when their gums bleed a little bit. Bleeding or swollen gums may be an early sign that you have periodontal disease. If you do not address the issue soon, the infection can spread and ruin the structures that support your teeth. If you wait too long before you reverse the damage, your teeth can become so loose that they have to be removed.
What Structures? Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures surrounding the teeth. This includes the gums, the periodontal ligament, and the alveolar bone, which is the bone that holds the teeth in place. The earliest stage of the disease is gingivitis, which is a gum infection. All the tissue becomes involved in later stages of the disease.
What Are The Causes?
For years, dentists and researchers have been trying to figure out the causes of periodontal disease, but the true cause remains controversial. More research is needed to discover the extent of the connection between gum disease and other medical problems.
Risks & Prevention
- Maintain proper oral health – make sure you stay up to date with dental checkups every 6 months, brush your teeth daily, and remember to floss!
- Do not smoke – Smoking can increase the resistance for treatment of the disease. Smokers tend to collect more tartar on their teeth, developing deeper periodontal pockets once they have gum disease and are likely to lose more bone as the disease progresses. However, you can control the disease; speak with your doctor about quitting today.
- Having misaligned or crowded teeth makes it harder to brush and floss those areas which can lead to more plaque. At Waxahachie Family Dentistry®, we can show you the best ways to floss and brush your teeth to remove plaque. If you have overcrowded teeth we may recommend orthodontics to repair them.
- Grinding, gritting, or clenching your teeth – while these habits won’t cause periodontal disease there is a greater chance it can lead to a more severe disease if the inflammation is present.
- Puberty and pregnancy can temporarily increase the risk and severity of gum disease.
- Medications – certain medications can cause dry mouth and without the protection of saliva, plaque is more likely to form.
- Stress – this can weaken the body’s immune system making it harder to fight infection.
- Poor nutrition – eating right is important and can lead to improved overall health, having a working immune system and healthy gum and mouth.
If you find that you have any of the above risks, or have noticed that your gums begin to bleed when brushing or flossing, please call Waxahachie Family Dentistry® today and let’s take a look at your gums together!