Periodontitis

By Dr. Mohamad E. Allaf
Updated 2024-03-06 17:37:29 | Published 2023-03-17 23:28:00
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An abstract illustration of Periodontitis

Periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease that occurs when the gum tissues and the bones supporting the teeth become inflamed and damaged. It is generally caused by bacteria found in plaque, a sticky film that forms on teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss and other complications.

Risk Factors for Periodontitis

What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that supports your teeth. It can cause teeth to loosen or lead to tooth loss. Periodontitis is common but largely preventable. It's usually the result of poor oral hygiene.

What Causes Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is caused by bacteria that have been allowed to accumulate on your teeth and gums. It can be exacerbated by factors such as smoking, poor oral hygiene, diabetes, medications that reduce saliva flow, certain illnesses, hormonal changes in females, and genetic susceptibility.

What are the Symptoms of Periodontitis?

Symptoms include swollen, red, or tender gums; bleeding gums while brushing or flossing; receding gums; formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums; loose or shifting teeth; and persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth.

How is Periodontitis Treated?

Treatment for periodontitis aims to thoroughly clean the pockets around teeth and prevent damage to surrounding bone. Advanced cases may require surgery. Treatments include scaling and root planing (a deep cleaning technique), medications, and in some cases, surgical procedures like flap surgery or bone and tissue grafts.

Can Periodontitis Cause Other Health Problems?

Yes, periodontitis can have systemic effects. It's linked to an increased risk of heart disease and can worsen existing heart conditions. It may also be associated with respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and problems controlling blood sugar in diabetes.

How Can Periodontitis be Prevented?

Good oral hygiene is key: brush at least twice a day, floss daily, and get regular dental checkups. Quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, and controlling underlying conditions such as diabetes also help in preventing periodontitis.

Is Periodontitis Reversible?

The damage caused by periodontitis can often be improved with treatment, but it's not usually completely reversible. Early stage periodontitis can be reversed with professional treatment and good oral home care.

Symptoms of periodontitis include swollen and bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, loose teeth, receding gums, and changes in the alignment of teeth. The disease can progress slowly or rapidly depending on various factors such as oral hygiene, genetics, and overall health.

Treatment for periodontitis usually involves a combination of professional dental cleanings, scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar, and in some cases, surgical procedures to repair damaged tissues and reshape the gums. Good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups, can help prevent and manage periodontitis.

It is important for individuals with periodontitis to seek professional dental care and follow treatment recommendations to prevent further progression of the disease and maintain oral health.

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Periodontitis

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Plaque buildup
  • Tobacco use
  • Genetic factors
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal changes (such as during pregnancy)
  • Stress
  • Weakened immune system
Disease Symptoms
Periodontitis
  • Red, swollen, or puffy gums
  • Bleeding gums during brushing or flossing
  • Receding gums, making teeth appear longer
  • New spaces between teeth
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Tender or painful gums
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Changes in your bite or the way your teeth fit together
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