Periodontal disease is a mild to serious infection that – left untreated – attacks healthy gums, teeth, and supporting bone structures. Periodontal disease is one of the chief concerns for any dentist, including Dr. Bakhtyari, due to the fact that the disease begins with the build-up of plaque (a sticky film of bacteria-causing food debris and saliva) that easily becomes calculus (tartar) on the surfaces of the teeth.
Regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits will help you keep a beautiful smile that is largely free from plaque build-up and calculus. However, when these plaque and tartar elements are not prevented, treated, and removed, they begin to negatively impact the gums and bone that surround the structure of the teeth – leading to the onset of periodontal disease.
Initial stages of periodontal disease are characterized by red, swollen, bleeding gums. This first stage of the disease is called gingivitis and is easily reversed by brushing, flossing, and general good oral hygiene at the home. Left untreated, gingivitis may advance to periodontitis – the next stage of periodontal disease – where plaque spreads below the gum line and the resulting bacteria and toxins create an inflammatory response in the tissue surrounding the teeth. Worst-case periodontitis is evidenced by separation of the gums from the teeth, followed by loosening and potential loss of teeth.
Some of the typical signs of gingivitis, periodontitis and periodontal disease include red, swollen, bleeding gums; spaces or growing gaps between teeth; bad breath; tenderness and discomfort around the teeth and gums; loose teeth.
As symptoms of gingivitis and early periodontitis are painless in the early stages, it is commonly held by dental professionals that 4 out of 5 people don’t even know they have a growing periodontal disease concern. Additionally, some recent dental health research has suggested that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other systemic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and pregnancy issues.
To ward off the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease, Dr. Bakhtyari recommends good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits. If you have concerns, please speak to Dr. Bakhtyari or one of our hygienists about treatment during your next consultation.