Periodontal disease sounds strange, but you probably recognize the name of its first stage: gingivitis. Periodontal disease is the medical term for inflammation and infection of the supportive tissues that surround the teeth. The word “periodontal” says it all: the term comes from two Greek words: “peri” which means surrounding, and “odontos” which means teeth. If you suffer from gingivitis, bleeding gums, bad breath, loose teeth, or gum recession, it’s important to visit our Lone Tree, CO practice now. The health of your gums is critical to your oral health and your overall well-being. At Metro Dental Care, our team of experienced dentists offers effective treatments such as scaling and root planing or deep dental cleanings to reverse the spread of periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease, sometimes just referred to as gum disease, refers to several conditions that can plague those tissues around the teeth. In the earliest stages, the disease begins as gingivitis. It usually presents as a minor inflammation of the gums and can show symptoms such as bleeding, swollen, tender or red gums. If left untreated, gingivitis develops into periodontitis, a serious infection that erodes the gums — as well as the bone tissue underneath them.
Some patients may be more pre-disposed to developing periodontal disease due to other physical conditions or lifestyle habits. Below, learn about the risk factors commonly associated with periodontal disease according to the American Academy of Periodontology and discover whether or not you could be at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease.
Medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease can increase the gum tissue’s susceptibility of infection and slow the body’s ability to fight off existing infection.
Smoking and Tobacco Use
Smoking or using any type of tobacco product is detrimental to a patient’s health, but especially to their oral health. Tobacco products containing nicotine cause blood vessels in the soft gum tissues to constrict, leading to receding gum lines and a hardening of the outer layer of gum tissue. This greatly decreases the body’s ability to fight off harmful oral bacteria, and can lead to deep periodontal “pockets” of infection.
Studies have found links between higher body weight and periodontal disease. This is most likely due to a greater presence of inflammation throughout the body for obese or overweight patients. Inflammation suppresses the body’s immune system; therefore, small irritations of the gums are slower to heal and more likely to grow into serious infections.
Diets high in simple starches and sugars provide more fuel for harmful oral bacteria. This is because bacteria in the mouth feed off of leftover starches in the mouth after eating. In addition, Vitamin C and Vitamin A can help your mouth ward off infection and keep your salivary glands and other soft tissues healthy. A lack of these key vitamins is detrimental to your mouth’s overall health.
Like many medical conditions, researchers have discovered that genetics can play a role for some individuals when determining their level of risk for periodontal disease. If you have a family history of periodontitis, you could very well be at an increased risk of the condition yourself.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that nearly 70% of adults over the age of 70 in America have periodontitis, or advanced periodontal disease. The risk is even greater for men, and those living below the poverty line. This may be due to older adults’ weaker immune systems.
Do you have one or more of these risk factors? If so, ensure that you are brushing and flossing properly each day. In addition, if it’s been six months or more since your last dental examination and cleaning, schedule your next visit at our Lone Tree, CO, office. Our Metro Dental Care team can do a comprehensive exam to ensure your gums are healthy and infection free. Contact a member of our team now at 303.534.2626.