Causes of Periodontal Disease

October 4, 2023by admin0

Understanding the Threat and Prevention Strategies

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease or periodontitis, is a progressive condition that, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. It begins with inflammation and irritation of the gingival tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth, caused by toxins in plaque resulting in a bacterial infection.

The infection settles in the gingival tissue, forming deep pockets between the teeth and gums. Early-stage inflammation, called gingivitis, is reversible if promptly treated by a periodontist. However, untreated bacterial infection progresses to destroy gums and the underlying jawbone, leading to tooth loss. Additionally, bacteria from this infection can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream.

Various genetic and environmental factors contribute to gum disease onset, with preventive measures significantly reducing the risk. Common causes include:

  • Poor dental hygiene: Inadequate oral care and professional dental visits lead to bacterial buildup, causing gingivitis or periodontitis and eventual tooth loss.
  • Tobacco use: Smoking and tobacco increase gum disease risk, affecting healing, promoting tartar buildup, and causing significant bone loss.
  • Genetic predisposition: Despite good oral hygiene, genetic factors can make individuals six times more prone to gum disease.
  • Pregnancy and menopause: Hormonal changes during these times increase gum sensitivity and susceptibility to gum disease.
  • Chronic stress and poor diet: Stress weakens the immune system, while malnutrition affects gum health and periodontal infections.
  • Diabetes and other medical issues: Conditions like diabetes hinder infection control in the gums, accelerating gum disease progression.
  • Teeth grinding: Clenching or grinding teeth damages supporting tissues, worsening gum disease progression.
  • Medications: Some drugs, like oral contraceptives and steroids, affect dental and gum health, promoting gum disease.

Periodontists specialize in gum disease treatment and dental implants. They perform deep cleaning procedures like scaling and root planing, prescribe medications to treat infections, and address tooth loss with tissue grafts and dental implants. Gum recession can be corrected for a more aesthetically pleasing smile.

Preventing gum disease is crucial for maintaining natural teeth. Identifying and addressing its causes with your dentist’s guidance helps prevent its onset, progression, and recurrence. For any concerns or inquiries regarding gum disease, consult your dentist.

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