From Catching It Early to Treatment: Your Easy Guide to Periodontitis

From Catching It Early to Treatment: Your Easy Guide to Periodontitis

From Catching It Early to Treatment: Your Easy Guide to Periodontitis

If something doesn’t feel quite right in your mouth, it could be periodontal disease. A form of gum disease, it’s estimated that about 30% of Australians suffer from it. But what is periodontitis, and how can you prevent and treat it?

What Is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory condition. As it is a severe form of gum disease, it affects the tissues that surround and support your teeth. If left untreated, it can cause irreversible damage to your gums, teeth and jawbone.

What Causes Gum Disease Like Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque can cause an infection in your gums. Your gums may then become inflamed and the infection may begin to affect your teeth also. As it progresses, you may begin to lose teeth. While periodontitis is largely caused by oral healthcare habits, there are additional factors that can make it more likely to happen. For instance, some people may be more genetically predisposed to it than others.

Additionally, if you have diabetes or an autoimmune disorder, this can increase your risk of periodontitis. Smoking, poor nutrition and even hormonal changes like those that occur with pregnancy can play a role in this gum disease developing too.

Gingivitis vs Periodontitis: What Is the Difference?

While they are both forms of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis are different in terms of severity and the damage they cause. Gingivitis is only inflammation across the gum line. It is also easily treated and even reversed with good oral hygiene and a trip to the dentist. Conversely, periodontitis is more severe, affecting not only the gums but your teeth, and the bones and tissues that support them.

Additionally, your gums may even start to pull away from your teeth. This can lead to them forming pockets where more bacteria can accumulate, hastening the disease. As this is a more severe gum disease, it typically requires a dentist to treat it and prevent further damage.

However, while gingivitis may impact your oral health less, it is still important to treat it as soon as you notice it. In fact, gingivitis is the first step to periodontitis, so be sure to get on top of it as quickly as you can.

But What Is Periodontics?

Periodontics is a special branch of dentistry that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontitis, along with similar conditions

Do You Have These Signs of Early Periodontal Disease?

When you brush or floss, or even just throughout the day, look out for the following:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Bleeding gums, especially when brushing or flossing
  • Receding gums (this is when it looks like your gums are pulling away from your teeth or your teeth appear to be bigger)
  • Bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
  • Loose or shifting teeth (you may notice this as a difference in the way your teeth feel when you bite or chew)
  • Sensitive teeth, including increased sensitivity to hot or cold food and drink

If you notice any of the above signs, you may be in the early stages of gum disease. Make an appointment with your dentist immediately. It’s important to remember, though, that some people will not have as noticeable symptoms until the gum disease takes root. This is why you should regularly see your dentist for checkups as they will be better able to spot subtle signs of the disease.

Can Periodontitis Be Cured?

While periodontitis cannot be completely reversed or cured, you can manage it with proper, ongoing periodontal treatment. These treatments are designed to control the bacterial infection and inflammation that causes periodontitis. This helps to prevent further damage to the gums, teeth and supporting structures.

If you visit your dentist or periodontist, their recommendations for how to treat periodontitis may include:

  • Deep cleaning
  • Scaling
  • Root planing
  • Repairing or replacing damaged tissues and bones (in severe cases)

You can also back up these treatments with good oral hygiene habits, like brushing and flossing. This helps prevent more bacteria from growing and causing more damage.

4 Steps to Prevent Gum Diseases

If you do not want to lose your teeth if you have periodontal disease, it’s important to know how to prevent gum diseases from occurring in the first place. Following the below 4 steps regularly is your best way to avoid both gingivitis and periodontitis.

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day: Using a fluoride toothpaste, brush for at least 2 minutes to remove as much plaque and bacteria as possible.
  2. Floss daily: Remove any food particles and plaque that brushing can’t reach by flossing.
  3. Quit smoking: Tobacco use has been shown to increase your risk of gum disease, so quitting smoking is an excellent health choice in more ways than one.
  4. Get regular dental checkups: Aim for an appointment every 6 months to get a professional clean. Your dentist can also check for any signs of gum disease and treat it early to avoid irreversible damage.

Protect Your Teeth From Periodontal Disease

If you’re concerned that you may have periodontitis and are looking for a dentist servicing Berwick and Narre Warren, you can visit the friendly team at Langmore Dental. We’ll check in on your teeth and gums, and find a suitable periodontal treatment, or help you prevent gum disease from developing and harming your smile. Book an appointment with us today!