Periodontitis: Your Questions Answered

Posted on: 13 December 2021

Periodontitis can have a significant impact on your oral health. Here are some of the most common questions patients have about this condition:

What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis (gum disease) affects the tissues and bones supporting your teeth. Periodontitis is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. Plaque is formed when bacteria mixes with saliva and leftover food particles on your teeth. In some cases, periodontitis is caused by a bacterial infection of the gum tissue.

What are the symptoms?

Common signs of periodontitis include:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Receding gums that expose more tooth root than usual
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath
  • An unpleasant taste in the mouth

How does it affect your oral health?

The inflammation associated with periodontitis can destroy tissues and bones supporting your teeth. Your teeth may become loose and fall out if the supporting structures of your mouth are destroyed by plaque and tartar. If left untreated, chronic periodontitis can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

How is it treated?

Periodontitis can often be treated at home with regular brushing and flossing or by using an alcohol-free mouthwash that kills bacteria. Your dentist may also recommend antimicrobial rinses to help remove plaque in hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. If you have periodontitis, your dentist might prescribe antibiotics if a bacterial infection causes the condition. 

You might also need surgery to repair damaged bones or tissues if they are severely affected by the disease. For more severe cases of gum disease, deep scaling removes part of the affected tissue and tartar below the gum line. Sometimes, a surgical procedure called flap surgery is performed when deep scaling does not heal diseases. During flap surgery, a section of gum is lifted to expose the roots of the teeth so that they can be cleaned and patched.

How can you prevent periodontitis?

The best way to prevent periodontitis is to practice good oral hygiene habits at home. This includes brushing your teeth using a toothbrush that has soft bristles, using dental floss daily, and using an alcohol-free mouthwash. It is also a great idea to visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.

If you have any other questions about this condition, please book an appointment to see a dentist as soon as possible. They can provide you with more information and advice on protecting your oral health.