The Two Main Types of Periodontal Disease
If you have been experiencing symptoms like red or swollen gums, tender or bleeding gums, increased teeth sensitivity, receding gums or teeth that appear to be longer, and bad breath that does not seem to go away, it is highly likely that you have periodontal disease.
Periodontal or gum disease can range from gum inflammation to serious damage to the tissues and bones that support the teeth. The disease is prevalent among people between 30 and 40 years old. Among the two sexes, men are deemed to be more likely to get gum disease.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
The disease is caused by the bacteria in the mouth. These microorganisms produce a sticky and colorless substance known as plaque. Through proper oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing and flossing, plaque can be removed from the mouth. However, if you have poor oral hygiene, plaque remains in the mouth and then hardens into tartar, which can be difficult to remove by brushing alone. In order to remove tartar from your teeth, you will need to see a dentist for professional cleaning.
Who Is At Risk?
Apart from those who have poor oral hygiene, there are some groups that are considered to be at higher risk for contracting gum disease. These include smokers, diabetics, patients who are taking medications that dry the mouth, and those who suffer from diseases like AIDS. There are also some patients who are genetically predisposed to have gum disease.
Gum disease can be broadly categorized into two types:
Gingivitis is the milder of the two and can be harder for people to detect because they experience little to no discomfort. This type of gum disease often occurs due to poor oral hygiene. Fortunately, through proper oral hygiene and professional dental care, this type of gum disease can be cured.
Periodontitis, on the other hand, is the advanced form of gingivitis. Gingivitis progresses to periodontitis when the plaque spreads and grows toward the gum line and below it. The bacteria then produces toxins which irritate the gums and facilitate a chronic inflammatory response from the body. Eventually, the continued production of toxins and inflammation leads to the destruction of the tissues and bone that support the teeth. Patients who suffer from periodontitis also have noticeable gaps or pockets between the gum tissue and teeth.
Periodontitis can be classified further into a variety of types, the most common of which are aggressive periodontitis, chronic periodontitis and necrotizing periodontal disease. Sometimes, periodontitis may be a symptom of a more serious condition, especially when it occurs at a young age. Such conditions include heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease.
As you may have learned from school during Dental Awareness Month, it is crucial to practice good oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing as well as paying regular visits to the dentist can help keep dental problems like gum disease at bay.