Gum conditions – the most common cause of tooth loss in the adult population.
“Ignore you teeth and you will lose them!” You should be able to use your teeth throughout your life. This can be achieved with proper care. Regular brushing, the use of dental floss and periodical visits for periodontal scaling and professional brushing may help avoid periodontal conditions, which are the main cause of tooth loss.
The term “periodontal” comes from ancient Greek and it means “around the tooth”.
Periodontal conditions are caused by bacteria which adhere to the gums, bone and surrounding tissues under the form of the microbial plaque or of the calculus (tartar). The first stages of this process are usually painless, but the periodontal condition leads to serious consequences if left untreated. The number of those who suffer from periodontitis is quite high, approximately 3 out of 4 adults being affected by a form of this condition.
Types of periodontal conditions:
1. Gingivitis: The bacterial plaque causes an inflammation of the gums, which become sensitive and bleed. At this stage, the condition is still reversible.
2. Periodontitis: If the microbial plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). As it continues to grow, the calculus pushes the gum line towards the root or causes the gum tissue to separate from the tooth. This phenomenon leads to the appearance of pockets between the tooth and the gum.
3. Advanced periodontitis: The condition continues to advance destroying more of the bone and periodontal ligament. Even the healthiest teeth can become loose and they may require extraction at times. Although the microbial plaque is the main cause of the periodontal condition, there is a series of other factors which favor it, such as smoking, using oral contraceptives, dental bridges that are incorrectly adjusted at the margins, old dental fillings, systemic conditions such as AIDS or diabetes, certain types of steroids or other medicine, bruxism or even a poor diet.