Periodontal disease is a serious medical and health condition. Our dentists and team will check your mouth for signs of this disease at each of your regular exams. If you are diagnosed, we will work with you to create a treatment plan that will fight the disease and help improve your oral health. Call Costa Dentistry today to reserve your consultation and find out more about periodontal treatments in Ashburn and Great Falls, Virginia.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an oral condition caused by harmful bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria infects and inflames the gums, and if left untreated, it will gradually progress to cause gum recession, bone loss and tooth loss. The milder stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis while the more severe form of this condition is known as periodontitis.
What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
Common symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Red, swollen or tender gums, or other pain in your mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing or eating hard foods
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Sores in the mouth
- Changes in your bite or in the fit of dentures or other oral appliances
What Is the Connection Between Gum Disease and Overall Health?
Research has shown that periodontal disease is closely linked to your overall health. In fact, gum disease and other medical conditions often impact or exacerbate each other. Common conditions affected by gum disease include diabetes, heart disease and stroke, pregnancy complications, osteoporosis and respiratory disease. This makes it incredibly important that you visit the dentist regularly and receive prompt treatment if you are diagnosed with periodontal disease.
- Periodontal Disease and Diabetes – Gum disease and diabetes contribute to each other. Gum disease increases blood sugar levels, making it more difficult to control glucose levels. Diabetes thickens blood vessels, making it more difficult to remove excess sugar in the mouth and creating a feeding ground for the bacteria that contribute to gum disease.
- Periodontal Disease, Heart Disease and Stroke – There are several ways in which gum disease, heart disease and stroke are linked. The bacteria that cause gum disease may attach themselves to coronary arteries, contributing to blood clot formation and narrowing the arteries, which may in turn lead to a heart attack. The inflammation caused by gum disease can also cause plaque buildup, swelling the arteries and worsening preexisting heart
- Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy – Women experience frequent hormone fluctuations, especially during pregnancy. This puts them at greater risk for developing periodontal disease, which in turn puts them at greater risk for preeclampsia and delivering premature and underweight babies. We recommend working closely with a dentist throughout pregnancy to maintain good oral health and prevent gum disease.
- Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by low bone mass, bone fragility and a decrease in bone mineral density. One of the characteristics of gum disease is progressive bone and tissue loss. Individuals with osteoporosis are more likely to experience the tissue loss in supporting bone structure that results from gum disease.
- Periodontal Disease and Respiratory Diseases – If you have periodontal disease, normal breathing may cause the bacteria in your mouth to move into your lower respiratory tract. This can cause bacterial infection in the lungs, leading to the development or aggravation of respiratory problems. It may also contribute to conditions such as pneumonia.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
Our dentists and team offer several types of treatment to fight gum disease and improve your oral health. When you visit our office, we will carefully evaluate your mouth to determine the severity of the disease and create a treatment plan. We may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Deep dental cleaning (scaling and root planing)
- Laser light therapy
- CloSYS mouth rinse
- Fluoride treatments
What Can I Do at Home to Prevent Periodontal Disease?
The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene at home. We recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day — ideally, you should brush after each meal and before going to bed at night. You should also floss daily. We also strongly recommend that you visit our dentists at least twice each year for preventive care. These routine visits allow us to check for signs of periodontal disease and provide any treatments you may need.
Who Is at Greater Risk for Developing Gum Disease?
Some lifestyle, genetic and medical factors may increase your risk of gum disease. These factors include:
- Smoking or using other tobacco products
- Poor oral hygiene habits
- A family history of gum disease
- Systemic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, etc.
Can Children Develop Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is rarely found in children and teenagers. However, learning to care for their teeth and mouth early can help prevent children from developing gum disease in the future. Please help your child or teenager develop good oral habits so that they can continue to enjoy a healthy mouth and smile.
Why Do I Need to Return So Often After My Treatment Is Over?
After being treated for gum disease, you will require regular periodontal maintenance to help keep your mouth healthy. We will set up a schedule of regular visits to clean your mouth and make sure that your gum disease does not return.