Did you know that the most common cause of tooth loss in adults is gum disease? And even though it is almost entirely preventable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one out of every two adults over the age of 30 in the United States has periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is a set of inflammatory diseases that affect the “periodontium”, which are the hard and soft tissues that surround and support your teeth. Just like tooth decay, gum disease can be attributed to the presence of harmful bacteria dental plaque and tartar that are left to accumulate around the teeth and under the gums. When left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to gingival pocket formation, gum recession, and diminishing alveolar bone with the eventual loosening and loss of teeth.
You may be surprised to learn that the human mouth is home to a wide variety of microbes. Over 700 different strains of bacteria have been detected in the oral cavity. Although some of these bacteria are beneficial, others are harmful to oral health. Without proper oral hygiene and routine dental care, these harmful bacteria can cause tooth decay and gum disease, compromising both your oral health and overall wellbeing
Although inadequate oral hygiene practices, infrequent dental checkups, and professional teeth cleanings are the main reasons for the development of gum disease, other factors can contribute to the risk. An individual may be more susceptible to periodontal disease because of genetic factors, smoking and tobacco use, harmful oral habits, misaligned teeth, poor nutrition, and stress as well as the fluctuating hormones in pregnancy. Moreover, diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and HIV infection can also increase the risk and severity of periodontal disease. It’s also noteworthy that therapeutic medications for the treatment of systemic disease can lay the groundwork for periodontal problems by producing side effects such as dry mouth (xerostomia) or causing the gums to enlarge.
Although gingivitis can often be reversed with improved oral hygiene and professional cleanings, as periodontal disease advances, more extensive procedures are required to halt its progression. Based upon a complete assessment of your periodontal health and a review of possible contributing factors, Dr. Ochoa and her professional team will discuss your best options in care. Depending upon the stage and severity of periodontal disease, treatment recommendations may include a series of deeper cleanings involving root planing and scaling, surgical procedures to reduce pocket depth, bone or tissue grafts, laser procedures, or antimicrobial medications.
Taking care of your smile does more than keep your teeth and gums in optimal condition; good oral health also supports systemic health. In addition to being the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, researchers are finding more and more links between periodontal disease and a number of medical problems including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory problems, and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as pre-term and low birth-weight babies.
At the office of Precision Dental Care, we provide patients the guidance, support, and care required to maintain optimal periodontal health. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.