Periodontal Disease: What is it and How Can You Prevent it?

Your teeth and gum health can dictate your overall well-being. It’s not something you want to ignore, especially since some diseases can start in the mouth. Keeping your oral health up to par is essential for maintaining good health. Things like gingivitis and even periodontal disease can be prevented if you are diligent enough. It’s good to know the early warning signs of certain oral conditions, so you can take the proper steps to eradicate it before it becomes a major concern. The following information will go over what periodontal disease is and what you can do today to prevent it.

What is Periodontal Disease?

You likely heard of this condition, but don’t really know what it is and how it affects your health. Simply put, periodontal disease is an illness that spreads through your gums. It starts with your gums bleeding every time you brush them. According to a study done in 1999, half of Americans over 30 years old suffer from bleeding gums.

When your gums become swollen and bleed, this is an early indication of a bacterial infection. If you allow this to continue, then the infection will begin to spread. Eventually, this can lead to structures that support your jawbone and teeth to become damaged. Over time, your teeth may become loose and require extraction. This is known as periodontal disease, also known as gum disease.

Health Conditions Connected to Gum Disease

Research shows that gum disease is connected to a variety of other health problems. This makes it even more necessary to eradicate as soon as possible. The list of health problems include:

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Premature births
  • Respiratory disease

These conditions present themselves due to gum disease increasing risk of clogged arteries and spreading infections throughout the body.

What Causes Gum Disease?

In a nutshell, periodontal disease is caused by bacteria found inside of dental plaque. Plaque is the sticky stuff that forms on the top of your teeth right after you’ve brushed them. Your immune system releases substances in an effort to remove this bacteria, causing inflammation and damage to your gums, alveolar bone and periodontal ligament. This in turn causes your gums to start bleeding, which is a sign of gingivitis (the early warning sign for periodontal disease).

How to Prevent Periodontal Disease

The number one cause of this disease is plaque. However, there are other factors that can play a part in its formation. It’s believed that your genes, smoking habits, misaligned or crowded teeth, stress, abnormal hormone levels, medicines and grinding or cleaning your teeth can cause this disease to come about.

The key to prevention is to take good care of your teeth and gums by brushing after each meal and flossing. You should also try to quit using tobacco products, fix any crooked teeth and buy a mouth guard if you grind or grit your teeth at night.

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