Periodontal Disease. What is it?

Estado normal y saludableThe term periodontal disease refers to a series of problems that affect the structures supporting the teeth.

The most frequent disease in this group is chronic adult periodontal disease, usually known as "pyorrhea", which is responsible for the majority of tooth losses at this time of life it is not treated in a suitable and timely manner.

Many people who have lost some or all of their teeth have done so as a result of this disease, characterised by the progressive destruction of the tissues surrounding the roots of the teeth (the periodontal ligament and jaw bone that holds the tooth roots). Eventually the loss of bone around the roots causes the teeth to start moving and fall out, often without any pain at all.

Periodontitis tempranaAs this is a painless process (unless it is complicated with an acute abscess), the diagnosis is often made as part of a routine check-up. The accompanying signs are bleeding gums, a bad taste in the mouth and bad breath (halitosis). On many occasions this bleeding may be concealed in smokers as tobacco reduces the blood supply to the gums, further worsening the process. This leaves us without a clear indication of the problem, and as there is less blood flow the body’s defence systems do not work properly, meaning the process tends to progress much faster.

What causes the periodontal disease (periodontitis)?

Periodontitis is caused by bacteria that accumulate in the dental plaque, which adheres to the teeth. If it is not brushed off, it sticks between the tooth and the gum, causing toxins that damage and inflame the gums. They may then move beneath the gum and migrate to the root of the tooth, destroying the bone that holds it in place.

A number of conditions contribute towards the appearance of periodontitis, such as:

  • Genetics (certain people are especially susceptible to suffering from periodontitis)
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Stress
  • Pregnancy, puberty and menopause
  • Drugs (oral contraceptives, antidepressants and certain heart medicines)
  • Grinding or putting pressure on the teeth
  • Diabetes
  • Poor nutrition
  • Other systemic diseases

What are the symptoms and signs of of the periodontal disease (periodontitis)?

These may be all or any of the following:

  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, or sometimes spontaneously
  • Reddening of the gums.
  • Gums that are separate from the teeth
  • The appearance of abscesses with suppuration between the teeth and gums
  • Bad breath that does not go away (halitosis)
  • Loose teeth (mobility)
  • A feeling of having longer teeth with gaps between them
  • Increased sensitivity to the cold

How can I prevent the periodontal disease?

  • Brush you teeth properly at least twice a day, to remove the bacterial film. use a brush in good condition and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use dental floss or an interdental brush to remove bacteria between the teeth, where other brushes cannot reach.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Choose a variety of foods from the basic groups, such as cereals, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and products such as milk, cheese or yoghurt. Avoid eating between meals.
  • Visit your dentist regularly.It is important to have regular check-ups, and professional cleaning procedures.