Periodontal disease. What is it?
With this generic name is designated a series of diseases that affect the support apparatus of the teeth.
The most frequent of this group is the so-called adult periodontal disease, commonly known as "pyorrhea", which is the main cause of loss of teeth at this stage of life if it is not treated properly and in early stages.
Many people totally or partially edentulous are because of this disease that is characterized by a progressive destruction of the tissues that surround the roots of the teeth, that is, the periodontal ligament and the bone of the jaws where the dental roots are inserted. There comes a time when the loss of bone around the roots is such that the teeth begin to move and as they run out of the support, they end up falling, often without any pain.
Being a painless process (unless it gets complicated by an acute abscess), the diagnosis is often made on a routine examination. The signs that accompany it are usually bleeding gums, bad taste in the mouth and bad breath (halitosis). In many cases bleeding can be masked in smokers because tobacco decreases the vascularization of the gums aggravating the process even more. On the one hand it deprives us of a key sign such as bleeding and on the other hand, having less irrigation means that the corporal defense mechanisms do not act adequately, which means that the process tends to progress more rapidly.
What is the cause of periodontal disease (periodontitis)?
It is caused by bacteria that accumulate in tartar and dental plaque, which sticks around the teeth and that if we do not eliminate, they get inserted between the tooth and the gum. These bacteria create toxins that damage and develop an infectious inflammatory process, which involves the destruction of the tissues that support the teeth. There must also be a predisposing individual (genetic) factor that is key, and that is what explains that patients with very little tartar can develop an aggressive periodontal disease, and vice versa, patients with a lot of tartar hardly have bone losses in the jaws.
Certain conditions are detrimental to the evolution of periodontitis, such as:
- Genetics (there are people especially susceptible to suffer periodontitis)
- Pregnancy, puberty and menopause
- Drugs (oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and certain cardiac medications can promote development)
- Grinding or squeezing teeth strongly
- Bad nutrition
- Other systemic diseases
Which are the symptoms and signs of periodontal disease (periodontitis)?
They can be all or some of the following:
- Bleeding gums when brushing teeth, or sometimes spontaneously.
- Redness of the gums.
- Gums separated from the tooth.
- Appearance of abscesses, with suppuration between the teeth and gums.
- Bad breath that does not go away (halitosis).
- Loose teeth (mobility)
- Sensation of longer and hollow teeth between them.
- Increased dental sensation when cold.
How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Prevention is essential and it is possible to detect those people who are susceptible to be able to initiate the opportune treatments in the initial stages.
- Brush your teeth well, at least twice a day. This will cause the bacteria film to be removed. You should use a well-maintained brush and fluoride pastes.
- Use dental floss or an interproximal brush, to remove bacteria from between the teeth, and where the brushes do not reach.
- Eat a balanced diet. Choose a variety of foods from the basic food groups, such as cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and dairy products, such as milk, cheese, or yogurt. Limit meals between meals.
- Visit your dentist regularly. It is important to have check-ups on a regular basis, and professional cleanings.