Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, begins with chronic bacterial growth in the mouth.  If left untreated, periodontal disease can eventually lead to tooth loss.

What are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

Initially, bacteria build a home in the spaces between the tooth and the gum, called the periodontal pocket.  In the early stages, called gingivitis, the gums can become inflamed, red, sore, and can easily bleed when brushing or flossing.  Some people may even have persistent bad breath or a bad taste in their mouth.  If left untreated, inflamed and enlarged gums can even cause your teeth to shift and move.

Often this pain, inflammation and bleeding makes people want to brush and floss even less – exacerbating the problem.

Although the gums are inflamed and irritated, the tooth is still firmly rooted in the jaw bone.  However, as the bacterial infection grows, the bone tissue begins to be eaten away, like steel turning to rust.  When this happens, the teeth that were once anchored in the bone become loose and will eventually fall out.

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, but unlike in children the tooth fairy can’t help you.

To stop the progression of this disease, it is important to see your periodontist for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan, which usually includes an initial deep cleaning followed by proper at home care and regular supportive periodontal therapy visits with your dental hygienist.

What causes Periodontal Disease?

Poor plaque control is the primary cause of periodontal disease.  Therefore, the first line of defence in reducing gum disease is at home care.

Other factors can make a person more susceptible to gum disease.  These factors include:

  • Family history of periodontal disease
  • Diabetic control
  • Heart disease
  • Medications – some medications have an effect on our oral health as they can increase or decrease saliva flow, which acts as a natural rinse in the mouth
  • Smoking status
  • Regular dental hygiene visits

How do I treat Periodontal Disease?

The first line of defence in reducing gum disease is at home care which includes;

  • brushing with a power toothbrush for 2 minutes twice daily
  • regular use of string floss to clean between the teeth
  • regular use of interdental brushes to clean between the teeth

To stop the progression of the disease, it is important to see your periodontist for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan, which usually includes an initial deep cleaning followed by proper at home care and regular supportive periodontal therapy visits with your dental hygienist.