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What is Periodontics?

preventing periodontal disease

First Symptoms of Gum Disease

If your hands starting bleeding when you washed them, would you be concerned?  You would right!  Oddly though it seems that many people think that if your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or floss that it’s ‘normal’… it isn’t!

Red, sore or bleeding gums can be a sign of periodontal diseaseotherwise known as gum disease or gingivitis.  If left untreated, the infection can spread and destroy the structure that supports your teeth, leading to tooth loss (which will lead to bridges, dentures or dental implants.

Periodontal disease is caused by the bacteria present in dental plaque, a substance that begins to form on the teeth just hours after you brush them.   In an effort to eliminate the bacteria, the cells of the immune system release substances that cause inflammation of the gums, leading to their destruction. 

If plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, it turns in to calculus, this process is called tartar.  Since tartar has a rougher texture than tooth enamel even more plaque attaches to it, continuing the downward spiral of gum disease.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

Although bacterial plaque is the main cause of periodontal disease, there are also several other factors which can also contribute:

  • Genetics – Research shows that some people may have a genetic susceptibility to periodontal disease.
  • Smoking or Tobacco use – Smoking or tobacco use increase the risk of the disease.  How often you smoke and how long you have smoked are contributing factors in the levels of periodontal disease a person may suffer.
  • Crowded Teeth – Crowded, misaligned, or crooked teeth make it hard to brush or floss your teeth correctly and this means that areas of your teeth are likely to form plaque, leading to tartar.
  • Stress – Stress can weaken a person’s immune system, which makes it harder to fight off infection, including periodontal disease.
  • Fluctuating Hormones – Puberty, pregnancy and the menopause can temporarily increase the risk and severity of periodontal disease.
  • Medications – Several types of medication list ‘dry month’ as a side effect.  Without the protection of adequate amounts of saliva, plaque is more likely to form.
  • Diseases – Although it’s not known why certain disease can increase the risk and severity of periodontal disease.  Diabetes for example.
  • Poor Nutrition – Nutrition is important for overall good health, including a working immune system and healthy gums and mouth.

Regular visits to the dental team at Northern Cross Dental Practice will help to eliminate the chances of suffering from periodontal disease and help your smile last a lifetime!