Tuesday, June 05, 2018 by Zoey Sky
Periodontal disease refers to an infection of the tissues that hold the teeth in place. The condition is also called gum disease.
Periodontal disease is often caused by poor brushing and flossing habits which lets plaque, or a sticky film of bacteria, form on the teeth and harden.
In its early stage, the disease is called gingivitis and a patient’s gums can become swollen and red. The gums can also bleed.
The more advanced form of periodontal disease is called periodontitis and the gums may pull away from the tooth. A patient with periodontitis can also experience bone loss or their teeth can loosen or fall out.
Known side effects of periodontal disease
The side effects of periodontal disease usually include:
- Changes in the fit of partial dentures
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Gums pulling away from the teeth
- Loose teeth
- Painful chewing
- Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Red/swollen gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Tender/bleeding gums
Risk factors for periodontal disease may include:
- Age — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 70 percent of people in the U.S. aged 65 and older have periodontal disease.
- Diabetes — A systemic disease, diabetes may weaken an individual’s immune system against gum problems. Other systemic diseases like cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis are also connected to gum problems.
- Genetics — Family history may increase your risk of developing gum problems.
- Orthodontic treatment — Devices around teeth, like dental braces, can make it hard to brush/floss properly.
- Poor dental hygiene habits — This can let plaque build up and cause gum problems.
- Poor nutrition — Vitamin or nutrient deficiencies can affect the body’s immune system, making an individual susceptible to gum-related infections.
- Smoking — This can significantly hasten the progression of gum disease and oral cancer.
Body systems harmed by periodontal disease
Periodontal disease may cause the following complications:
- Frequent gum abscesses/painful collections of pus
- Increasing damage to the periodontal ligament, or the tissue that connects the tooth to the socket
- Increasing damage to and loss of the alveolar bone, or the bone in the jaw that contains the sockets of the teeth
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Tooth loss
Food items or nutrients that may prevent periodontal disease
The following foods or nutrients can help prevent periodontal disease and treat its side effects:
- Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) — Bloodroot has various alkaloids, like sanguinarine, that is available in commercial toothpastes and mouth rinses. Sanguinarine can help prevent plaque.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) — CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant and it can help treat periodontal disease.
- Flavonoids — Flavonoids can help minimize inflammation and stabilize collagen structures.
- Folic acid — Folic acid can help reduce gum inflammation.
- Gotu kola — Gotu kola can help treat severe periodontal disease. It can also hasten the recovery of patients after laser surgery for severe cases of periodontal disease.
- Vitamin A — Vitamin A is needed for collagen synthesis, the enhancement of various immune functions, and wound healing.
- Vitamin C — Vitamin C can help strengthen the periodontal membrane and the collagen matrix that anchors teeth to the bone.
- Vitamin E and selenium — Both these nutrients can help prevent periodontal disease by neutralizing the damage caused by free radicals to gums.
- Zinc — Together with vitamin A, zinc is crucial to several body processes. Zinc can also prevent plaque growth. Rinse with a mouthwash that contains at least five percent zinc twice a day.
Treatments, management plans for periodontal disease
Treatment for periodontal disease may depend on the severity of a patient’s condition.
Gingivitis can be prevented with proper oral hygiene and regular dental cleaning.
However, severe forms of periodontal disease may require more extensive treatment such as:
- Corrective surgery
- Deep cleaning of the tooth root surfaces below the gums
- Medications taken orally or placed directly under the gums
Periodontal diseases can be controlled or prevented by:
- Brushing and flossing daily to eliminate the bacteria that cause gum disease.
- Using natural dental care products to keep your gums healthy.
- Visiting a dentist at least yearly for checkups.
Where to learn more
Periodontal disease refers to an infection of the tissues that hold the teeth in place.
The side effects of periodontal disease include loose teeth, painful chewing, or sensitive teeth.
Periodontal disease may cause complications like receding gums, loose teeth, or tooth loss.
CoQ10, flavonoids, folic acid, and gotu kola are some of the foods or nutrients that can help prevent periodontal disease and treat its side effects.
Severe forms of periodontal disease may require more extensive treatment like corrective surgery, deep cleaning of the tooth root surfaces below the gums, and medications.