the 07/05/2013 | 12:45
Everyone dreams of white teeth and healthy gums. Unfortunately, the reality is often different. About 80 percent of all Germans struggle with gum inflammation and periodontal disease. The dangers that these diseases bring with them are mostly underestimated by patients. Periodontal disease in particular should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, fighting the disease is quite easy.
Periodontosis, also called periodontitis in medical jargon, is an inflammation of the tissue around the tooth caused by bacteria, which can also attack the jaw. It is one of the most frequent oral diseases. Since periodontal disease especially affects periodontitis, infectious disease can, in the worst case, even lead to tooth loss. Fortunately, this can be easily prevented …
Periodontosis tends to go unnoticed at firstSince it is usually painless and unnoticed by the affected person, periodontal disease is one of the most insidious diseases. It usually starts out harmless: bacteria settle in the spaces between the teeth and on the edges between the teeth and the gums and multiply there. Microorganisms produce toxic and acidic metabolic products that can damage teeth and gums.
The immune system reacts with inflammation of the gums (also called gingivitis), which is supposed to kill bacteria. The gums will swell and turn red. In this particular phase, periodontal disease often manifests itself in the form of bleeding gums, which can be triggered, for example, by brushing your teeth or forcefully biting into an apple. If left untreated, the gums can shrink over time, exposing the neck of the teeth and making the teeth appear longer. The teeth are much more sensitive at this point in periodontal disease. A metallic taste in the mouth and bad breath are also often noted. Larger pockets can also form on the gums, further enlarging the space between the tooth and the gums and giving bacteria another space to retreat to. The jaw often recedes in this phase as well, so that the teeth eventually lose their grip and begin to wobble. In the worst case, there is even a risk of tooth loss.Poor dental hygiene is the most important cause of periodontal disease
Periodontal disease is often caused by poor dental hygiene. Because even if you brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day, you can still cope with the disease. After all, a commercially available toothbrush only reaches about two-thirds of the oral cavity. However, the interdental spaces and molars are often left out during cleaning. Also, despite careful brushing, many people develop tartar which, due to its structure, is another target for bacteria and other pests. However, other factors can also promote periodontal disease. For example, smokers and people who are particularly stressed are significantly more likely to develop periodontal disease than their peers. Also, an unhealthy diet should be mentioned as a possible cause. Hormonal changes like puberty or pregnancy, as well as metabolic diseases like diabetes mellitus, can also promote gum problems like periodontal disease. Furthermore, it has been found in the past that there may also be a hereditary predisposition within the family.
A dentist can quickly diagnose periodontal disease
Aside from symptoms such as bleeding gums and inflammatory changes in the gums, periodontosis is unfortunately difficult for those affected to recognize. Therefore, you should visit a dentist as soon as your gums change or start to bleed regularly and with the slightest touch. Then you can perform more tests that can confirm or refute the suspicion of periodontal disease. At the doctor’s visit, they will first look for suspicious factors and ask about your symptoms and any previous illnesses. Then you will take a closer look at your teeth and gums. With a WHO probe, you can also take a close look at existing gingival pockets. If they are more than 3.5 millimeters deep, this is an indication of an existing periodontal disease that needs to be treated. The dentist can also use an X-ray to check the condition of the jaw.
Periodontal disease must be treated
If periodontal disease is found, it should be treated in conjunction with the dentist. The prerequisite for this is that the bacteria causing the disease are killed. The first step is to have a professional dental cleaning, but this can only be done in a dental clinic. With the help of mechanical hand tools such as a scaler, curette, or special ultrasound devices, the dentist removes existing tartar and plaque. This allows the gums to rest against the tooth again and fulfill their function of support and protective screen. If the gum pockets are so deep that the dentist cannot completely remove the plaque, a minor operation may be necessary. To do this, the dentist opens the pockets with local anesthesia and then removes the tartar and plaque. To support these options, the dentist may prescribe antibiotics that must be taken orally and also penetrate the bloodstream to the regions inflamed by periodontal disease.
This is how easy it is to prevent periodontal disease
The fight against periodontal disease always begins at home. Daily dental care is essential to keep your head off against harmful bacteria. In addition to classic tooth brushing, the often neglected interdental spaces need to be cleaned. Flossing and interdental brushes are great tools here. In the case of acute periodontal disease, certain mouthwash solutions can also be used, but these should only be used in consultation with the treating physician. Also, you should keep regular check-up appointments with your dentist so that you can recognize and treat an emerging periodontal disease at an early stage. If you are prone to periodontal disease, we recommend that your dentist perform regular professional dental cleaning, which can be done one to four times a year. However, the costs of this additional protection are generally not covered by legal health insurance companies. Unfortunately, you yourself have to pay on average 50 to 150 euros for this preventive measure. In addition to these specific options, some basic rules of conduct also make sense. Smokers should give up their vices or at least significantly limit them, as smoking has been shown to promote periodontal disease. Stress is also a poison for healthy gums. Also, a change in diet can be beneficial.
Even if many people suffer from periodontal disease, this is not a reason to just accept the disease. After all, the disease can be effectively fought in a few steps. Let your dentist advise you in advance what you can do against periodontal disease. After all, you will still need your teeth for a while.