Periodontitis is a gum disease caused by the growth of bacteria in your mouth. It may lead to loss of tooth if left untreated. It destroys the tissue that surrounds your teeth. The basic difference between gingivitis and periodontitis is that the former (gum inflammation) precedes the later (gum disease).
It all starts by inflammation of gums which happens due to the build up of plaque. It also causes the gums to bleed. Even though the teeth get irritated, they are planted firmly and no tissue damage occurs in this stage.
But when you keep gingivitis untreated, it progresses to periodontitis. Periodontitis causes the inner layer of bone and gums to pull away from the teeth to form pockets. These small spaces between gums and teeth can get infected. The toxins produced by the bacteria along with the body’s enzymes start breaking the bone and connective tissues that hold teeth in place.
With the progression of the disease, the pockets deepen and no longer stay in the same place. They tend to become loose and eventually lead to tooth loss. Periodontitis is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults.
What are the Symptoms of Periodontitis?
- Swollen and tender gums
- Bad breath
- Loose Teeth
- Bad taste in mouth
- Spaces between teeth
What Causes Periodontitis?
The primary cause of periodontitis is plaque. However there are other factors too that contribute to this disease. They are as follows:
1. Hormonal changes
Hormonal changes that occur during puberty, pregnancy, menopause etc can make gums sensitive enough to develop gingivitis.
Certain medication can affect oral health. This happens because some medicines interrupt the supply of saliva which is very important for having healthy gums.
Various illnesses can affect the condition of your gums. Diseases like cancer and HIV can hamper gums. Patients with diabetes are also at a higher risk of developing gum diseases since it interferes with the body’s ability to use sugar.
4. Tobacco consumption
Consumption of tobacco and smoking affects oral health in lot of ways. It makes it harder for gum tissue to repair itself.
5. Poor oral Hygiene
Not brushing and flossing your teeth properly triggers the development of plaque and gum disease.
Sometimes family history of dental disease can also be the main reason for the development of gingivitis.
How to Prevent Periodontitis?
The best way to prevent periodontitis is by practising good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice daily. Flossing is equally important as it removes the food particles stuck in between teeth. It should be done at least once a day. Visiting your dentist to clean the plaque and tartar every 6 months is advisable. Your dentist is in a better position to guide you about your dental issues.