One of the biggest threats to a person’s oral health is periodontal (gum) disease. This condition develops with little to no visible symptoms at first, but when it advances, it has the power to erode all oral health structures including bone. Advanced gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is an incredibly destructive condition that can wreck a person’s total wellbeing. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and research has linked this condition to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and even stroke.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Tartar accumulation is the leading contributor to the development of periodontal disease. When plaque is not removed by proper brushing and flossing, it eventually hardens into tartar when exposed to calculus deposits. Once tartar forms, it cannot be removed by home care; it must be removed through professional dental cleanings. As tartar builds up along the gum line, the gums become irritated and inflamed. The gum line will pull away or recede as a response to the irritant effect that tartar has. With gum recession, tartar will then buildup and form pockets between the roots of teeth and gums. Without treatment, the formation of these pockets will weaken the supportive bond between teeth and gums, thus causing teeth to loosen with time.
In addition to tartar, other factors contribute to gum disease. Certain health conditions like diabetes and lifestyle choices such as smoking can greatly increase the risk of gum inflammation and irritation. Additionally, genetic predispositions may play a role in the development of gum disease.
Gum Disease Prevention
Periodontal disease is preventable and if it does develop, it is curable if detected early on. The first step to maintaining healthy gums is through practicing thorough oral hygiene. Not only is twice-daily brushing important, daily flossing is a necessity to keeping gums stimulated, clean, and healthy. In addition to practicing proper oral hygiene, patients must commit to regular dental cleanings and checkups. Dental cleanings are the only way to remove tartar deposits and regular visits to our practice can help increase the likelihood of early detection.
If our dentist finds signs of gum disease, we will develop a treatment plan that is right for your needs. You will likely be asked to improve your oral hygiene routine and you might require more frequent cleanings to manage the condition. In some cases, our practice may refer patients with complex cases of periodontal disease to a trusted specialist.