Have you been experiencing tender, swollen or bleeding gums? Read on because you may be experiencing early signs of periodontitis.
Periodontitis is a more serious form of periodontal disease that affects the bone and soft tissue supporting the teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to the loosening or loss of a tooth or teeth. People may be more familiar with gingivitis, the milder form of gum disease, but periodontitis is more common than you think! The National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES 2009-2014) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 42 percent of U.S. adults ages 30 years and older had some form of periodontitis.
Although gingivitis and periodontitis are quite common, bleeding and swollen gums should not be ignored. Fortunately, periodontitis is preventable mainly because the major risk factor is poor oral hygiene over an extended period of time. Let’s take a look at the causes of periodontitis and what conditions or habits may increase your risk.
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth and other mouth surfaces. If left undisturbed by not brushing and flossing properly over long periods of time, the presence of plaque bacteria can contribute to the development of periodontitis. Let’s look at how plaque build-up can progress to periodontitis:
Risk factors for periodontitis2
If the gum tissue and bone are significantly damaged, it may require surgery to repair these structures. For that reason, it’s crucial to know the risk factors for gum disease so you can prevent periodontitis from harming your smile and teeth.
It’s important to be aware of the causes and risk factors of periodontitis so that you can protect your teeth and gums from more significant oral health problems down the road. Make sure to practice good oral hygiene and try to remove plaque build-up at least a couple of times a day to prevent it from becoming destructive. If you have difficulty removing all the plaque, form a lot of tartar on your teeth and gums, or have one or more of the risk factors mentioned above, check with your dentist for early signs of gum disease. Your dentist can help with a long-term plan for keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
Looking for more information? Learn more about gum disease and periodontitis:
1 Periodontitis. (2020, February 14). Retrieved May 18, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/periodontitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354473
2 What is periodontitis? (n.d.). Retrieved May 18, 2021, from https://www.efp.org/what-is-periodontitis/
Periodontitis: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & prevention. (n.d.). Retrieved May 18, 2021, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16620-periodontitis
Update on Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: NHANES (2009 – 2012). Retrieved Jun 22, 2021, from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4460825/
Periodontitis in U.S. Adults National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2014. Retrieved Aug 10, 2021, from https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(18)30276-9/fulltext#relatedArticles