Periodontitis is a severe gum infection, which destroys the bone and soft tissue that play a role in supporting your teeth. Complications for periodontitis not only include tooth loss, but may also increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and many other severe health conditions.
Periodontitis is a common infection, but prevention is possible. Periodontitis occurs largely as a result of poor oral hygiene, therefore, regular brushing and flossing along with regular professional teeth cleanings may decrease your chances of contracting the infection.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of periodontitis may include the following:
- Bright red/purplish gums
- Swollen gums
- Gums that are tender when touched
- Bad breath
- Pus between the gums and the teeth
- Receding gums (gums pull away from the teeth, thereby making teeth appear longer than usual)
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- New spaces forming between the teeth
- Changes in fitting of the teeth while biting
There are different classes of the infection, with chronic periodontitis being the most common one in adults.
When to seek medical attention
Healthy gums are normally pink and firm. If the gums appear puffy, red or tend to bleed easily, this means they are unhealthy. If your gums have symptoms and signs of periodontitis, see your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner treatment is sought; the higher will be the chances of reducing damage due to periodontitis and further complications.
There are several treatment methods for periodontitis, but they often depend on the severity of the infection. Treatment for periodontitis involves cleaning off the pockets of bacteria, thereby reducing the damage caused. Treatment is most likely to be successful if you practice proper oral hygiene.
If you are not suffering from advanced stages of periodontitis, nonsurgical treatments options may be sought such as:
- Scaling. This is the removal or bacteria and tartar from the surface of the teeth and under the gums
- Root planing. This involve smoothening out the root surfaces to reduce buildup of tartar
- Antibiotics. Topical antibiotics such as mouth rinses or gels or oral antibiotics may be necessary to eliminate bacteria that cause periodontitis
Surgical treatment is often considered if nonsurgical treatment and good oral hygiene are ineffective.
The following home remedies and lifestyle changes may also be necessary to treat periodontitis:
- Professional dental cleanings
- Usage of a soft-bristles toothbrush and replacing it every three months
- Usage of an electric toothbrush as it may be more effective in removing tartar and plaque compared to a manual toothbrush
- Floss daily
- Brush twice a day and preferably, after every meal
- Use mouth wash
- Avoid relying on tartar control toothpastes to substitute for regular brushing and flossing
- Using a intradental cleaner to clean between the teeth