Periodontal disease is a severe gum infection that affects more than 60 million adults in the US. The bacteria that live in our mouth are its main cause. Due to poor oral hygiene, the bacteria stick to our teeth and form plaque. If this goes on for too long, it can result in a gum infection that plays out in three stages.
The Three Stages of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease starts as a gum inflammation called gingivitis. The bacteria will cause the gums to swell and bleed more easily.
If you don’t treat the condition, it will continue to progress. Your teeth will then pull away from the gums, creating small holes between them. The bacteria can go through these holes and thus enter your bloodstream. As a result, it could cause high blood pressure and other related problems.
In the final stage of the disease, the bacteria will eat at the fibers that support your teeth. They may become loose and also reshape your bite. This late in the process, there’s little your dentist can do. In extreme cases, they may even have to extract your teeth.
Dealing with Periodontal Disease
The earlier you start treatment, the better your chances of avoiding any complications. As soon as you notice the first symptoms of the disease, you should go to your dentist for a checkup. Here is what periodontal disease treatments usually involve:
- Your dentist will remove the built-up plaque and polish your teeth.
- You will have to maintain proper oral hygiene using floss, fluoride toothpaste, and an electric toothbrush.
- If these two methods don’t work, you might also need to take antibiotics.
- In advanced cases where nothing else seems to help, dental surgery may be the only option.
Although periodontal disease occurs often, there are easy ways to prevent it. You should brush your teeth two times a day and use floss and mouthwash if needed. Reduce your intake of sugars, as they contribute to the formation of dental plaques. Finally, go to your dentist for a regular checkup at least twice a year.