At the present time, almost 50 percent of adults over 30 now have a more serious form of gum disease – periodontitis. The bad thing about it is that many do not know they have it but they also are unaware of what it can do. Periodontal gum disease needs to be treated by a dentist because it will not go away on its own.

The Cause of Gum Disease

Gum disease is caused by bacteria that are normally found in the mouth. With more than 500 types of bacteria all living in the same space, they largely balance each other out and the bad ones are controlled. Certain conditions will enable some of the bad types to gain an upper hand.

Poor oral health is one of those conditions. It is the primary cause of gum disease. The excess bacteria get into the gums and an immune reaction is started. After a while, the immune system starts attacking your gums, the ligaments that support your gums, and your jawbone – slowly destroying them.

The Stages of Gum Disease

The first stage of gum disease is mild and no physical damage is occurring. The symptoms for this stage, called gingivitis, are inflammation and bleeding of the gums when you brush or floss them. By brushing twice a day and flossing, you can eliminate this problem.

If untreated, or if your oral care does not improve, the bacteria will at some point become more aggressive. They continue to pour into the gums which have started receding. It is now periodontitis and you cannot remove it on your own. You will need the help of a dentist.

When you go to a dentist, the depth of the pockets that have formed on your gums will be measured. The stage will be determined – there are three – and a treatment plan will be made. If left untreated, periodontal gum diseasewill eventually cause your teeth to become loose and then fall out.

Treatment for Periodontitis

The dentist, or periodontist, has several ways to treat gum disease. The treatment will depend on the severity and it may be non-surgical or surgical. Common treatments include medications only, or they may be used in combination with scaling and root planing, gum grafting, or bone grafting to repair the damage.

With help from the dentist, gum disease can be controlled and then eliminated. If teeth are lost, they can be replaced with dental implants or some other technique.

Risk Factors for Periodontitis

Several factors are often involved in the development of periodontitis. They include:

  • Poor oral health
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Genes
  • Weak immune system
  • Poor diet
  • Stress

Preventing Gum Disease

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy can help to prevent periodontal disease. Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time and flossing daily will help keep the bacteria under control. Regular dental visits and dental cleaning will help even more.

The dentists at Bright White Dental can treat periodontal gum diseaseand help you keep it under control. If you have damaged gums and lost teeth as a result, we can also help to restore your smile. We treat the whole family with many dental services.