What is Periodontal disease?
The beginning stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis, which occurs when plaque build up begins to inflame the gums causing them to redden, swell and easily bleed. Typically there is little to no discomfort during this stage. Because of this, gingivitis is generally not detected at home and is detected during your regular dentist visits. If diagnosed and treated, gingivitis is completely reversible. If left untreated, it leads to periodontal disease – this is where the plaque starts to develop below the gum line and the bacteria in the plaque produce toxins, which results in further inflammation of the gums and the destruction of tooth supporting bone, eventually leading to tooth loss. Once periodontitis sets in, treatment is crucial to manage the inflammation and reduce damage. Periodontal disease is a lifelong condition that can be maintained with regular professional cleans and good home care.
Periodontal Disease Treatment Classically Involves:
- Professional cleaning of the teeth above and below the gum line to remove the plaque and hard deposits.
- Achieving the best possible home care.
- Regular reviews.
- Removing risk factors such as smoking, or protecting the gums from grinding.
As periodontal disease causes permanent damage to the supporting tissues, the aim of treatment is to stop the progression of the disease by controlling the bacteria. This is an ongoing, lifelong activity. Diabetics commonly suffer from Periodontal disease but so does the rest of the population with figures being quoted at 30-50%. There is also a link between Periodontal disease and coronary heart disease.
The best way to judge whether periodontal disease is stable is for a dentists to assess if the gums are healthy or weather they bleed. Bleeding gums are an indication that the gums are not healthy and that acid producing bacteria are present.
The best oral hygiene tools to use to control gum disease at home, are piksters and a waterpik. Other products that can be helpful are a chlorhexidine mouth rinse and gel. Remember to use piksters both from the inside, as well as the outside. The waterpik is ideal if you are having trouble with dexterity. The chlorhexidiene mouth rinse and gel should only be used for 10-14 day period.
Please follow the instructions on these products for best results. If these products don’t help in controlling the gum bleeding then a professional clean is essential to stabiilize periodontal disease.