We’re not trying to scare, we’re just being honest. The thing you want to avoid has a name. It’s periodontitis.
What exactly is periodontitis?
Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is a serious disease of the mouth. It’s chronic and affects 80% of people over the age of 35. And perhaps most importantly, researches have now established a link between gum disease and diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions.
In short, periodontitis is an inflammation fo the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. It results in swollen gums, which turn red and bleed. This is due to certain bacteria that have been allowed to collect on the surface of teeth. If left untreated, the inflammation spreads below the gum line and potentially leads to bone loss.
The bacteria that causes periodontitis is naturally found on tooth surfaces, but remains harmless, if teeth are healthy and cleaned regularly. However, if conditions allow them to grow in large numbers, that’s when they are harmful. This, obviously, happens, when oral hygiene is stopped.
It takes a long time for the periodontitis to develop, but that doesn’t mean it should be underestimated. It may begin in the teenage years and only be recognised when he or she is 40 years of age. However, if you bleed from your gums when you brush your teeth, it’s time to act.
Go and see your dentist as soon as possible. The dentist or hygienist will show you how to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. However, you also need to undergo treatment. The dentist will remove all deposits of bacteria and tartar from tooth surfaces.
It’s not as easy at it sounds, though and periodontitis surely is something you want to avoid. It is not difficult at all and is certainly worth the effort. Maintaining proper dental hygiene is more a matter of technique than frequency – it’s not about how often you do it, it’s about doing it right. Also, for an average patient, it is generally recommended to visit the dentist at least twice a year.
Obviously, this is not the case if you’ve already been diagnosed with gum disease: the frequency of your follow-up appointments depends on the severity of disease and your individual risk factors.
Two important pieces of advice
Unlike most other dental problems, periodontitis is not a question of aesthetics and comfort. If left untreated, it can lead to severe, possibly life threatening diseases. The two basic things we recommend are thus as follows:
1. Take good and regular care of your oral hygiene.
2. As soon as your teeth start bleeding when you wash them, do come and see us.