What is periodontitis? And how is it treated?
Periodontitis is a common disease that can have serious consequences. It is caused by dental plaque and tartar buildup and damages your gums. Periodontitis makes your gums detach from your teeth and can cause your teeth to become loose or fall out. How can you spot periodontitis? How is it treated? Take a closer look at periodontitis with this article from CDH.
The inside skinny on periodontitis
- Periodontitis is a common gum disease,
- Mild cases are easy to treat: the cure is a good tooth care routine and a trip to your dental hygienist for a deep cleaning (scaling and planing),
- Severe cases can require surgery and antibiotics,
- Natural remedies don’t work for periodontitis,
- The symptoms of periodontitis get worse over time, going from gum bleeding in the early stages to tooth mobility and ultimately tooth loss.
- If you notice that your gums are bleeding, make an appointment with your dental care provider and kick your tooth care up a notch: brush 3 times a day and floss daily.
What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis destroys the tissue that supports one or more of your teeth. It often develops from gingivitis.
Periodontitis is mainly caused by tartar and dental plaque buildup under your gums. The support tissue gradually pulls away from your teeth, leaving a deeper gap between your gums and teeth. That means your teeth will become loose and detached (and will look longer than usual).
Periodontitis is divided into three phases: early, moderate, and advanced.
Periodontitis: what causes it?
Inadequate oral hygiene (not brushing regularly, a poor diet, etc.) is the leading cause of periodontitis. But other factors can be involved:
- inadequate tooth care,
- certain bacteria,
- hormonal changes, particularly during pregnancy and menopause,
- certain medications,
- medical conditions like diabetes and HIV,
- alcohol, tobacco, and an unhealthy diet,
What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
Symptoms of periodontitis
Periodontitis is a progressive disease. That means its symptoms emerge and worsen gradually. It can be effectively – and relatively easily – treated if you catch it early. Its symptoms are:
- gum bleeding,
- periodontal pockets,
- progressive destruction of your gums,
- gum recession,
- wider spaces between your teeth,
- tooth mobility,
- tooth detachment,
- tooth loss.
Gum disease is extremely common. According to the WHO, 15% to 20% of adults ages 35 to 44 have severe periodontitis. In France, 80% of adults ages 35 to 44 have some form of gum disease.
What complications can periodontitis cause?
It’s very rare for periodontitis to cause complications. But if it is diagnosed late or is particularly aggressive, it can:
- cause tooth detachment or tooth loss,
- mean your dentist may need to remove the affected tooth to keep the infection from spreading,
- contribute to cardiovascular disease,
- contribute to lung disease,
- lead to uncontrolled diabetes,
- cause premature birth.
These complications are extremely rare, and most cases of periodontitis are successfully treated before they become serious. If you’re pregnant, the hormonal changes in your body make it particularly important to see your dental hygienist regularly.
How is periodontitis treated?
If you have periodontitis, the first step is improving your oral hygiene. That means:
- brushing your teeth 3 times a day for 3 minutes each time,
- flossing and/or using interdental brushes,
- your hygienist may prescribe mouthwash, but it’s not right for everyone.
And of course an appointment with your dentist or dental hygienist is key to treating and monitoring periodontitis. Your dental care provider will:
- perform a deep cleaning in which they scale and plane your teeth,
- perform graft surgery if you have experienced bone or gum loss,
- prescribe antibiotics if you need them.
Are there any natural remedies?
Natural remedies aren’t a cure for periodontitis. You will need to see your dental hygienist or dentist for treatment. But there are a few natural remedies that can offer relief for painful symptoms:
- Aloe vera: healing, anti-inflammatory, and stimulates collagen renewal,
- Coenzyme Q10: fights infection, antioxidant, stimulates your immune system,
- Turmeric: anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory,
- Grapefruit seed extract: effective against bacteria and parasites, anti-inflammatory, and can balance the pH inside your mouth,
- Avocado oil: anti-inflammatory,
- Manuka oil: antiseptic,
- Coconut oil: anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory,
- Tea tree essential oil: anti-bacterial product that works particularly well for dental problems,
- Vitamin C, lysine, and proline: Collagen renewal,
- Vitamin D: calcium regulator.