What is Periodontal Disease? What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, or gingivitis, is inflammation of the gums. If left untreated or ignored, chronic Gingivitis likely will lead to Periodontal Disease. Periodontal disease is a serious infection of the gums which requires intervention and continuous care. The disease can be isolated to the gums and teeth, and can spread to bone and find it's way into the bloodstream. This source of chronic inflammation compromises your overall health. The body's resources become exhausted fighting the infection which negatively impacts your immune system. Microbes from the disease are directly linked to heart attacks, strokes, heart infections, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease.
As with any infection, periodontal disease is influenced by the state of your health. Notably, there is an increased risk for periodontal disease for those who have one or a combination of the following: diabetes, heart disease, compromised immune system, hormonal imbalances, and other sources of chronic inflammation. Other factors include quality and duration of sleep, diet, and chronic stress.
How to measure Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is typically measured by the level of bleeding, tissue quality, level of bone loss around the teeth, and the space between the gums and teeth attachment where microbes reside (otherwise known as "pockets"). Additional means to measure disease is by measuring the levels of microbes in the mouth by testing the saliva.
How to treat Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal Disease can be treated various ways depending on the extent of the infection. Preferably, diagnosing the disease early enough can lend treatment without needing gum surgery. Non-surgical treatment is effective in most instances. A professional hygienist will perform a detailed scaling and root planning in the affected areas and continue hygiene intervals (usually every 3 months) to prevent and relapse of the disease, monitor disease progression, and determine the appropriateness of techniques and tools used at home to maintain the gums. Severe cases generally require surgery with the possibility of losing teeth. Surgery is generally performed with a dentist who specializes in gum surgery, a Periodontist.
Less invasive treatments include Perio Protect Trays, Ozone treatment, and customized home care recommendations. Perio Protect Trays are custom prescription trays that provide oxygen therapy directly to the gums to promote healing and disrupt microbes on a daily basis at home. Ozone treatment is direct application via ozonated gas, oil, or water to promote healing and eradicate microbes at the gum level using a higher concentration of oxygen therapy directly to the gums. Lastly, a dental professional will determine which other products or tools might be appropriate for each individual case. The customized recommendations are based on your specific needs and anatomy to ultimately assist with daily flossing and brushing.
How to prevent Periodontal Disease?
For most people, daily flossing and brushing, regular dental visits, a diet low in refined sugars and processed foods, quality sleep, stress management, and proper hydration will keep the microbes at a manageable level. Other interventions such as Perio Protect Trays and specific toothpastes or tooth powder can add additional benefits.