Periodontal Disease, commonly referred to as gum disease, is caused by bacteria found in plaque. If not removed consistently, this bacteria builds up to cause inflammation of the gums. Periodontal disease can lead to symptoms ranging from mild discomfort all the way to tooth loss and jaw deterioration.
Periodontal Disease Can Negatively Affect Your Overall Health
A recent discovery in dental research tells us that the health of our gums impacts our overall health. Studies conducted suggest that people with periodontal disease are at greater risk of systemic disease and indicate that periodontal disease may allow oral bacteria to enter the blood stream and travel to major organs wherein new infections begin.
Periodontal Disease Diagnosis
Your Pensacola FL dentist can diagnose periodontal disease during a periodontal examination. Diagnosis is based on your symptoms and an examination of your mouth. To determine the severity of periodontal disease, a small dental instrument is used to measure the pocket depth of the space between your teeth and gums. In a healthy mouth, the pocket depth is between 1 and 3 millimeters. Pockets measuring deeper than 3 millimeters may indicate periodontal disease. A diagnosis is then made that will fall into a category below:
Early stage periodontal disease is called gingivitis. This is seldom painful and causes relatively minor symptoms including red, swollen and bleeding gums.
Untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which is a serious infection that destroys the soft tissue and bones that support the teeth. Eventual tooth loss can occur if periodontitis is not treated.
As the periodontitis advances, the teeth lose the support they need as the health of the gums, bone and periodontal ligaments deteriorates. If left untreated, the affected teeth will loosen and may be lost. Severe bone loss may also occur in advanced periodontitis.
How to Avoid Periodontal Disease
Our Pensacola FL dentist stresses the importance of regular dental checkups and professional cleanings, which includes a periodontal evaluation. Additionally, taking good care of your teeth at home which includes regular, thorough brushing and flossing of the teeth can assist in reducing the buildup of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. It is also important to maintain a balanced & nutritious diet filled with vitamins and minerals as a proper diet helps ward off gum disease.