The periodontitis concept
In principle, periodontitis is characterised by an infection of the gum and the bone around the tooth. The infection causes destruction of the periodontal tissues which hold your teeth in place, or in other words, your gums, the periodontal ligament and both jawbones.
Periodontitis or pyorrhoea commonly bares “the roots to the open air” and occurs in 80% of the western adult population, making it the most frequent chronic disease.
When the disease progresses, your gum will come away from your tooth, causing a periodontal pocket to form which will totally or partially surround that tooth. Bacteria proliferate in this pocket, helped by leftover food, and particularly sugar, leading to the appearance of tartar plaque, which aggravates irritated gums and prevents them from healing.
With time, on losing the tissues that hold them in place, your teeth will start to move, causing bleeding and discomfort when chewing and, at the more advanced state, periodontitis, which will cause them to fall out.
In our country, periodontitis remains the main cause of tooth loss in the over-40s.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
- We must suspect that periodontitis exists when the following occurs:
- Your gums are swollen and red, bleed easily on touching them when brushing, on eating apples or rather hard food, and when they bleed spontaneously at night, meaning that you may sometimes waken in the morning to find that your pillowcase is stained with blood.
- Your teeth move, causing discomfort and difficulty when trying to chew your food.
- Bad breath, which either you or those close to you notice.
- Gum abscesses, like little spots with pus, which tend to be small and chronic, and which may sometimes swell.
- A gumboil appearing around the tooth, causing pain, the inability to chew or open your mouth properly, and requiring antibiotics for treatment. Gumboils destroy your gums, meaning that your teeth will become even looser.
- Receding gums or bare roots, making your teeth look longer, with black spaces appearing between them.
- Increasingly larger separations appear between your teeth, which start to spread out like a fan.
- It is essential to treat gum problems seriously and to do so as early as possible, in order to prevent periodontitis from developing. This means that, if you notice your gums are bleeding or that a tooth is starting to move, you must make an appointment with your dentist to study the problem and decide what action should be taken.
- Tobacco, uncontrolled diabetes, poor or inadequate oral hygiene are all factors which contribute to its evolution.
- It is important to brush your teeth, taking care to brush the area where your teeth meet the gum. You can use either an electric or a manual toothbrush, as you prefer, but always for the necessary amount of time: 2 minutes, three times a day, after every meal.
- Dental floss or interdental brushes will make the process much more effective in taking care of your gums. You should also use a good toothpaste and a special mouthwash if you know suffer from delicate gums which have a tendency to suffer from inflammation. Ask us and we’ll help you to choose the oral hygiene products best suited to your particular case.
- In-depth cleaning at your dentist’s, once a year or every six months as required, is essential to prevent periodontitis.