October is National Dental Hygiene Month. At ProGrin Dental, we strive to educate our patients on the best oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing every day. When you do not take proper care of your oral hygiene, you can put yourself at risk for gingivitis or periodontitis, or periodontal disease.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal Disease is a gum infection that causes damage to the gums and jawbone. It can eventually lead to tooth loss and can become a risk factor for heart and lung disease. Gingivitis is when gums become red and swollen. If not taken care of, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. Eventually, the gums can pull away from the tooth, bone is lost, and the teeth may loosen or even fall out. Periodontal disease is seen mainly in adults and can continue to become an issue to overall health if not taken care of.
The CDC provides a report that helps us see the prevalence of periodontitis in the US:
- 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease.
- Periodontal disease increases with age; 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.
The leading cause of periodontal disease is poor oral hygiene. When you do not brush and floss your teeth regularly, bacteria in the mouth can infect the tissue surrounding the tooth. This causes inflammation around the tooth leading to periodontal disease. When bacteria stay on the teeth long enough, it produces plaque. Eventually, plaque hardens to tartar. Tartar buildup can spread below the gums, and then only dental health professionals can remove the tartar to prevent periodontal disease.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
- Bad breath
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
- Change in bite
- Change in the fit of partial dentures
Prevention and treatment
Periodontitis is common but preventable. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can help prevent plaque buildup. Regular dental visits with your dental hygienist twice a year can help clean the pockets around teeth to prevent damage to the surrounding bone. More severe and advanced cases may require more extensive treatment. These treatments include a deep cleaning of the tooth-root surfaces below the gum, medications prescribed to take by mouth or placed directly under the gums, and sometimes corrective surgery.
To help prevent gingivitis and periodontitis, visit your dentist every six months. You can call to schedule one of your appointments today.