What You Should Know About Periodontal Disease

Nearly 80% of adults have periodontal disease, and many don’t know they have it. Periodontal disease is a broad term that describes two common oral conditions: gingivitis and periodontitis. These conditions damage the tissue and bone around your teeth, leading to decay and other complications.

Gingivitis, a gum infection, is the earliest stage of periodontal disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can get worse and become periodontitis, which involves more than just your gums, and infection can spread below your gum line, causing bone loss.

Though periodontal disease is common, it is usually easy to diagnose and treat. Proper oral hygiene is critical to prevent and treat periodontal disease. At her private practice in San Francisco, California, Nataly Vilderman, DDS is an expert in helping patients stay healthy and fight periodontal disease. Read on to learn more about this common oral disease.

1. It isn’t normal for gums to bleed when you brush or floss.

Many people aren’t worried if their gums bleed when they floss or brush their teeth, but this is a sign that something is wrong. Healthy gums are firm and fit snugly around your teeth. They shouldn’t bleed when you floss or brush. If your gums bleed when you clean your teeth, you may have gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease.

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gum tissue around your teeth. Your gums might be red, swollen, and bleed when you brush or floss if you have gingivitis. Inflammation is often caused by poor oral hygiene, where plaque collects on teeth and leads to infection in your gums.

2. Periodontal disease includes gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis is an extremely common oral condition and is the earliest stage of periodontal disease. Patients can have acute or chronic gingivitis. Acute gingivitis develops in just one area, due to a specific infection. Chronic gingivitis develops as a result of a bacterial film on your teeth and gums and can affect your entire mouth. With proper oral hygiene, gingivitis can be treated and even cured.

Periodontitis occurs when periodontal disease advances to the bone and surrounding tissues. If you have periodontitis, you might notice spaces forming between your teeth and gums. Periodontitis can take many forms that affect the speed of tissue and bone deteriorating, but the most common form is chronic periodontitis. Over time, plaque buildup causes infection and deterioration that leads to gum and bone loss. This can compromise the strength of your teeth.

3. Crowded or crooked teeth can increase your risk of periodontal disease.

The main cause of periodontal disease is poor oral hygiene. Plaque buildup increases your risk of developing inflammation or infection due to bacteria. If you have misaligned teeth, it makes cleaning your teeth more difficult.

Crowded or crooked teeth can be hard to brush and floss properly, which increases the likelihood of plaque buildup. If you have crowded teeth, it’s important to get regular dental cleanings to keep your teeth healthy and ward off the development of periodontal disease.

4. Smoking makes periodontal disease worse.

Smoking or using tobacco in any form increases your risk of developing periodontal disease. If you already have periodontal disease, smoking often makes the condition worse. Smokers tend to have more plaque on their teeth, and smoking can speed bone loss if you have periodontitis. If you suffer from periodontal disease, quitting smoking can stop the condition from advancing and help you get your symptoms under control.

5. Catching early warning signs of periodontal disease can stop advancement.

The earliest stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, can often be treated and cured. A thorough cleaning can clear up bacteria and plaque and treat the symptoms of gingivitis. Your risk of developing periodontitis is significantly reduced if you don’t have chronic gingivitis. However, not all cases of gingivitis develop into periodontitis.

Getting regular dental cleanings and following a complete oral hygiene routine at home is your best defense against gingivitis and periodontitis. Keeping your gums and teeth clean by brushing and flossing two times per day will stop plaque buildup and keep you healthy. To learn more about oral hygiene and what you can do to keep periodontal disease away, make an appointment with Dr. Vilderman today.

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