Gum disease is directly linked to your general health. Unhealthy gums contribute to other disease conditions
The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. You may not know you have it because gum disease is a slow progressing disease, whose onset is usually painless, and goes unnoticed.
Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease. Men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers..
Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that if left untreated over time can lead to tooth loss. With time, bacterial plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. The accumulated plaque then hardens into calculus, also commonly called tartar. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque and tartar irritate the gums which can lead to chronic inflammation where the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed.
Preventing gum disease
Simply put, if you can control the bacterial plaque build-up you can control the gum disease. The good news is that you can help prevent gum disease by taking good care of your teeth every day with proper dental home care and by having regular dental checkups where scaling can be conducted by other hygienists.
How to spot gum disease:
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth.
- Red, swollen or tender gums.
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth.
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away.
- Pus between your teeth and gums.
- Loose, shifted or drifting teeth.
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
Periodontal Treatment Options
Hand scaling is the use of metal instruments to remove plaque and tartar which reduces inflammation, the primary cause of periodontal disease.
Ultrasonic Scaling uses water running through a metal tip that is vibrating at a very high frequency to remove plaque and tartar to reduce bacterial count below the gum line. This instrument is very comfortable compared to earlier sonic devices.