Periodontitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the tissues and bone supporting the teeth. It’s caused by bacteria in plaque, the sticky film of food debris, mucus, and bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. If plaque isn’t removed, it can harden into tartar (calculus).
Once tartar forms, it becomes more difficult to remove and can irritate the gums. The result is periodontitis, which causes gums to pull away from the teeth and form spaces (pockets). If left untreated, periodontitis has serious implications for your dental health as well as your general health since it’s been linked to heart disease.
Causes of Periodontitis:
- The primary cause of periodontitis is the buildup of plaque and bacteria on the teeth and gums. This can occur due to inadequate oral hygiene or other underlying health conditions that may weaken the immune system, such as diabetes or certain autoimmune diseases.
- Poor nutrition that results in a poor oral environment can also contribute to periodontitis. Additionally, certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking or heavy alcohol use, can increase the risk of periodontitis.
Symptoms of Periodontitis:
The most common symptom of periodontitis is bleeding gums. The gums may be red, swollen, and tender, and they may bleed when brushed or flossed. There may also be bad breath or a foul taste in the mouth. In some cases, the teeth may become loose or fall out.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of periodontitis, your dentist will likely perform a thorough oral exam and take dental X-rays to assess the health of your teeth and gums. Other diagnostic tests may be ordered, such as blood tests or saliva analysis, to check for underlying conditions that may be causing or contributing to periodontitis.
Treatment for Periodontitis:
- Periodontitis is a serious condition that requires prompt and effective treatment. The goal of treatment is to stop the progression of the disease and prevent further damage to the teeth and gums. Treatment may include scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) to remove plaque and tartar buildup, followed by the use of antibiotic mouthwash or other medications.
- In more severe cases, treatment may also include surgery to repair damage to the gums or bone structures supporting the teeth. With timely and proper treatment, most people can successfully manage periodontitis and maintain good oral health.
Periodontitis is a serious condition that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. The best way to prevent periodontitis is to practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings. If you are experiencing symptoms of periodontitis, seek treatment right away to prevent further damage to your teeth and gums.