Periodontal Disease in Wichita, Kansas
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth.
There are two main types of periodontal disease:
- Gingivitis – the early stage of the disease characterized by inflammation of the gums.
- Periodontitis is a more advanced form of the disease that affects the gum tissues and bone supporting the teeth.
Periodontal disease can be prevented and treated with good oral hygiene, regular dental checkups, and professional cleanings.
Symptoms are not always obvious, and pain may not be a problem. If the disease progresses and is not treated, supporting bone may be lost, causing teeth to shift, loosen and eventually fall out. When this happens, it affects eating, speaking, how you look, and your overall health.
Periodontal disease affects the following tissues: alveolar bone, periodontal ligaments, cementum, or gingiva (gums).
The Main Cause of Periodontal Disease
The primary cause is from plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums. When left untreated, it can infect and inflame the gums, leading to a range of symptoms, such as bleeding gums, bad breath, and tooth loss.
The bacteria in our mouths live off our food, mainly carbohydrates.
It is always in our mouth, and we constantly form plaque, even minutes after cleaning. Bacteria colonize the plaque and produce toxins (by-products) that attack our gums. Some people form it more quickly than others.
Plaque not removed regularly will harden and become “calculus,” or “tartar.” Both can occur above and below the gum line. The only way to remove it is with scaling and root planing from your periodontist in Wichita.
Other Risk Factors
Several risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing the disease. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Poor oral hygiene: Failing to brush and floss regularly allows plaque to accumulate on the teeth and gums.
- Smoking and tobacco use: Smoking and other forms of tobacco use can cause significant damage to the gums, increasing the risk of disease.
- Age: As we age, our risk for gum disease increases. According to the American Dental Association, over 70% of adults over 65 have some periodontal disease.
- Genetics: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to developing the disease.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can make it harder for the body to fight infections, including gum infections.
- Stress: Chronic stress weakens the immune system and can increase the risk of developing gum disease.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and some heart medications, can increase the risk of disease.
- Hormonal changes: Changes during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause can make the gums more susceptible to infection.
- Poor nutrition: A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates can increase the risk of gum disease.
It’s essential to be aware of these risk factors and reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease. Regular dental checkups can help detect and treat it in its early stages.
Remember, just because you are cavity-free doesn’t mean you can’t have gum disease. It is painless in its beginning stages, and many people don’t know they have it. That’s why proper oral hygiene and twice-yearly dentist visits are essential for oral health, even if you don’t have a cavity!
Our assistants and hygienists will instruct our patients on proper hygiene techniques to help remove plaque daily. Complete removal of tartar can only be done in the dental office.
Periodontal Disease Symptoms
Periodontal disease is considered a dangerous disease. Most experts believe that at least 80% of Americans are affected by the disease, and 4 out of 5 are unaware they have it. People should be aware that periodontal disease affects adults primarily. Still, children and teens can also be affected, and juvenile periodontal disease is usually very aggressive!
Some warning signs of periodontal disease are:
- Bleeding gums: One of the most common symptoms is bleeding gums, especially when brushing or flossing.
- Bad breath: Persistent bad breath, even after brushing or using mouthwash, is another common sign.
- Swollen or red gums: In the early stages of gum disease, the gums may appear red, swollen, and tender.
- Receding gums: As periodontal disease progresses, the gums may start to pull away from the teeth, making them appear longer.
- Loose teeth: As the disease worsens, the teeth may become loose or shift position.
- Painful chewing: Chewing can become painful and uncomfortable as the gums and teeth are affected by the disease.
- Pus or discharge: In advanced cases of periodontal disease, pus may develop around the teeth and gums.
If you experience any of these symptoms, seeing your periodontist in Wichita is vital as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.
Research shows you can’t have a healthy body without a healthy mouth, and periodontal disease generally runs in families.
We Can Treat Gum Disease in Wichita!
We really want our patients to understand that gum disease is reversible in its earliest stage: gingivitis! The earlier gingivitis is caught, the easier to eliminate it before it advances.
We get it; finding out you have gingivitis can be worrisome. Still, the good news is that good oral hygiene, and professional cleanings, can rid you of gingivitis and stop gum disease and tissue and bone loss in its tracks. Visit LK Anderson, DDS, PA in Wichita, Kansas.