Periodontal Disease: Stages and How to Slow It Down or Prevent It?

Periodontal disease is also known as gum disease. It begins when plaque builds up along and under the gum line. This sticky film-like substance is filled with bacteria and causes infections which hurt both the gum and bone. It is responsible for gum disease and tooth decay. Plaque also causes gingivitis which is the earliest stage of gum disease and it causes the gum to become prone to bleeding, swollen, red, tender, and inflamed. 

Gum disease is a serious condition which occurs when bacteria accumulates on your gums and teeth. As it progresses, your teeth and bones become damaged. However, if it is treated early on and proper care is taken, damage can be prevented.

What Are the Different Stages of Periodontal Disease?

Inflammation (Gingivitis)

Periodontal disease starts with inflammation in the gums. The first stage is known as gingivitis. The first signs that you will observe during this stage include the bleeding of gums when you floss or brush your teeth. You would also experience some discoloration of the teeth. It is called plaque and is a build-up of food debris and bacteria on the teeth. While bacteria are always present in our mouth, they become harmful when certain conditions permit it to increase significantly. This happens when you do not brush or floss your teeth as often or get dental cleanings done regularly.

Early Periodontal Disease

Gums recede or pull away from the teeth during the early stages of periodontal disease. It leads to small pockets forming between the gums and teeth. These pockets harbour harmful bacteria. The immune system fights the infection which only causes the gum tissue to recede. This results in one experiencing gums bleeding while flossing or brushing their teeth.

Moderate Periodontal Disease

Now, if left to progress, moderate periodontal disease would be experienced. It would result in more pain and bleeding as well as gum recession. At the same time, the teeth would begin losing bone support and become quite loose. Moreover, the infection can also cause an inflammatory response throughout the body.

Advanced Periodontal Disease

The connective tissue which is responsible for holding the teeth in place would begin to deteriorate in the advanced stage. Thus, the bones, gums, and other tissues which support the teeth would be destroyed. Moreover, one would also experience severe pain while chewing, foul taste, and severe bad breath. Furthermore, you would also end up losing the tooth altogether.

Can Periodontal Disease Lead to Heart Disease?

New York Total Dental states that periodontal disease can lead to serious cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes. The website explains that the bacteria present in your mouth can enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your entire body, and consequently cause chronic inflammation. When the body experiences this type of inflammation, the results are blood clots and arterial plaques leading to heart problems.

How Can You Slow Down or Even Prevent Periodontal Disease?

Now that you know more about periodontal disease, chances are that you are wondering how to slow it down or even prevent it. The good news is that gum disease is preventable. The following tips will help keep your gums healthy.

1. Floss

One of the best tips that will help you prevent periodontal disease is flossing at least once a day. It will help remove plaque from the teeth and ensure that food particles that are beyond the reach of the toothbrush are effectively removed. It does not matter when you floss as long as you make it a habit to floss at least once a day.

2. Go for Regular Dental Cleanings

Since dentists are able to detect early gum disease symptoms, it is important that you pay one a visit every six months. It would help ensure that the symptoms do not progress and are treated early on. Besides, professional cleanings are crucial for removing tartar. Moreover, professional cleanings also get rid of any plaque which might have been missed when flossing or brushing.

3. Quit Smoking

Smoking can also cause gum disease. This is why it might be best for you to quit. Since smoking is known for weakening the immune system, it is important that you quit as it would allow the immune system to fight a gum infection. Moreover, one should bear in mind that smoking makes it difficult for the gums to heal from damage.

4. Brush Twice Daily

Another important tip that will help prevent periodontal disease or slow it down is brushing twice daily. You should brush after each meal. It will help ensure that the food trapped between the teeth is removed. When brushing your teeth, you should also scrub your tongue as it harbours bacteria.

5. Use Fluoride Toothpaste

When it comes to toothpastes, fluoride toothpaste is the best option as it reduces gingivitis, whitens teeth, and improves breath.

Conclusion

Periodontal disease is serious and should not be taken lightly. Make sure to follow the tips mentioned above to avoid it.

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