Periodontitis is a disease that affects the gums and other supporting structures in your mouth. It is a very common disease in humans and is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Although it’s normal to have bacteria in the mouth, periodontitis results when there is too much and specific conditions are met where they are continuously increasing in number. In this blog, we’re going to talk about periodontitis, what causes it, and how you can prevent it.
Healthy mouths contain around 700 different types of bacteria. Most of this bacteria is harmless and is even healthy for your mouth. However, if you don’t brush and floss regularly, bacteria is left to accumulate on and in between teeth resulting in plaque buildup. When plaque is left too long without breaking up, it becomes a hard deposit called tartar. This tartar increases the accumulation of bacteria and it starts traveling down to the root of the tooth. As the inflammation reaches the root, it creates a gap between the root and the gum. This is when serious periodontal issues start to occur.
There are several things that determine the rate at which periodontitis takes effect. The strength of the person’s immune system is and the number and type of bacteria that are present in the gums are major factors. Additionally, people who smoke or have diabetes will be more likely to develop periodontitis due to an inability to fight off the infection. It’s important to note that periodontitis can only be caused by the bacteria buildup in dental plaque. Although genetics, diabetes, and smoking can increase the rate at which the infection occurs, it still requires the plaque to travel from the crown to the gum.
It’s never too soon to start thinking about periodontitis and how to prevent it. Although periodontitis is more common in adults and seniors, it can happen to anyone if the conditions are right. Brushing and flossing regularly and thoroughly are the most important ways to prevent periodontitis. The longer bacteria is left on the teeth, the more likely it is to become plaque and pose serious problems for your oral health. When you brush, make sure to cover every tooth, front and back, and to floss everyday as well. Many people don’t understand the importance of flossing, but in reality, it’s one of the most important things you can do for your teeth. About 40 percent of the plaque that builds up is in between your teeth in hard to reach areas. Not only does it break up harmful plaque, but it’s great for your gums. You can also try using antibacterial mouthwash, but should never be used as a substitute for brushing.
There are several major disadvantages a smoker has when trying to prevent periodontitis. Periodontal treatments like bone and gum grafting are less successful or often, fail more frequently than in people who don’t smoke. In smokers, the effects of periodontitis will progress more quickly and it’s less likely to be resolved through treatment.
Other risk factors
There are several other risk factors including stress, diabetes, and other systemic diseases. Diabetes will causes blood vessels to thicken, meaning less nutrients will be flowing through the body and removing harmful wastes that lead to infection. If you have diabetes, it’s important that you notify your periodontist and dentist in order for them to help you prevent gum disease and periodontitis.
Contact Pacific Northwest Periodontics
Pacific Northwest are your premier periodontal specialists in Seattle and the surrounding area. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with us. Read our next blog in this blog series to learn more about treatment options for periodontitis.