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Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis or advanced gum disease, is one of the most common dental health issues affecting adults on island. It is estimated that over half of adults have some stage of periodontal disease!
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal is a gum infection that affects over 60% of islanders but often does not hurt at all. It progresses slowly, and occurs when bacteria build up and harden into “tartar” on your teeth and gums. If it does not get cleaned off, it slowly attacks the gums and bone holding the teeth, causing infection, inflammation, and swelling. Irreversible damage can continue until the teeth are lost for good. It is similar to how termites can affect the foundation of a house; periodontal disease affects the foundation of your teeth. Even worse, it also has an effect on your overall health, increasing your risk of serious illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Stages of Gum Disease
The first stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is still reversible. Signs of this stage are sensitive bleeding gums and bad breath.
The second stage of gum disease, periodontitis, leads to some permanent damage. You may notice teeth looking longer, recession, generalized sensitivity while eating, and a foul taste in your mouth.
If periodontal disease gets to an advanced stage, you may notice teeth are becoming loose or falling out. At this stage, more invasive care or specialty treatment would be needed to halt the disease.
What Can I Do To Prevent or Treat It?
The good news is if gum disease is detected early, a lot of damage can be prevented. Regular visits to the dentist for checkups and cleanings, along with excellent brushing and flossing at home, go a long way to keeping the disease away. Specialized gum therapy called “scaling and root planing” or also known deep cleanings, can also treat the disease. The maintenance of your oral hygiene is the biggest key to treating gum disease at all stages. If you suspect that you may have gum disease, schedule an appointment right away with Dr. Clegg for a checkup! Call us at (671) 969-4242