What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues, bones and ligaments that support and surround the teeth. Plaque contains food, bacteria and bacterial waste products that accumulate on your teeth after eating.
If it is left on your teeth, your gums become irritated. When plaque builds up and hardens into tartar (also known as calculus) the bone structures around the teeth become affected. This condition affects people in their 30s and 40s but men tend to be more susceptible to periodontal disease than women.
The early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis – this is when gums can become red and swollen and bleed easily, often when brushing your teeth. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to peridontitis where the inner layer of the gum and bone recede from the teeth and form pockets.
The spaces between the teeth and gums become infected, and bacterial toxins begin to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth together. Over time, the pockets deepen and destroy bone and gum tissue. Eventually, teeth start to feel loose and fall out. How to best avoid these conditions includes brushing and flossing your teeth daily, visiting the dentist regularly, eatinghealthy foods and limiting your intake of sugary snacks to maintain good oral hygiene.
The symptoms and signs of periodontal disease include:
- Red, swollen and tender gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Discoloration of gums
- Formation of spaces between teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
- Changes in the way teeth fit together on biting, or the way dentures fit together
- Continuous bad breath or bad taste in the mouth (halitosis)
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease develops as a result of a plaque build up because of poor oral hygiene – not brushing and flossing teeth regularly and visiting the dentist.
A number of factors may contribute to gum disease and include:
- Poor diet
- Braces, dentures or teeth irregularities
- Weakened immune system
- Medical conditions such as diabetes or Down syndrome
- Hormonal changes, particularly during puberty, pregnancy and menopause
- Inadequate sleep
- Certain drugs such as contraceptives, antidepressants, steroids, anti-epilepsy or cancer medication
Diagnosing Periodontal Disease
The diagnosis of periodontal disease is based on a thorough examination of your mouth, teeth and gums. Your dentist will check your gums for swelling, bleeding and firmness. Your bite may have changed and will also be assessed. X-rays as well as periodontal pocket measurements will be performed to determine the extent of the damage.
Help for Periodontal Disease
The treatment of periodontal gum disease generally depends on the severity of the condition and the main objective is to control infection. It remains important to incorporate good dental hygiene habits such as proper brushing and flossing, eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking and visiting your dentist regularly.
There are various types of treatments which include deep cleaning methods such as scaling and root planning to scrape and remove plaque and tartar from teeth above and below the gum line. Medications such as antibiotics in the form of mouthwashes or gels may be applied to kill off bacteria. In more severe cases, surgery or bone and tissue grafts where healthy gum tissue is removed from another part of the mouth to replace diseased tissue.
Natural treatments have proven to be highly effective in treating peridontitis and maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Homeopathic remedies are safe and gentle to use orally without any harsh side effects.
Carefully selected ingredients such as Acidum salicylicum, Silicea and Belladonna alleviate tooth pain, inflammation and infection, and supports healthy teeth and gums. In addition, Merc sol, Ferrum phos and Hepar sulph helps to eliminate symptoms and heals gums and bones.
More Information on Periodontal Disease
How to prevent periodontal disease
There are several ways for effective prevention of gum disease for healthier gums and teeth:
- Brush your teeth properly twice a day for at least two minutes
- Floss your teeth daily before brushing to remove plaque from those hard-to-reach places in your mouth
- Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride to help fight gum disease and prevents plaque build up
- Use an electric toothbrush for more thorough cleaning as they are more effective than manual toothbrushes and are able to remove plaque below the gum line
- Eat a healthy diet packed with vegetables and fruit
- Limit your intake of sweets and sugary foods
- Replace toothbrushes every three months because new toothbrushes remove plaque more easily than used ones
- Stop smoking as it destroys gum tissue, causes tartar formation and bone loss
- Avoid long term use of certain drugs such as antidepressants, antihistamines or muscle relaxants as they dry out the mouth and can cause tooth decay and gum disease
- Visit your dentist every six months for routine checkups