Some people equate the development of periodontal disease as part of the aging process. While it’s true that many older adults are diagnosed with periodontal disease, it’s important to understand that aging doesn’t directly cause this condition. As we get older, though, periodontal disease is harder for our bodies to fight off – especially if we have chronic health conditions like autoimmune disorders and diabetes.
The Onset of Periodontal Disease
Up to 80% of the adult population will develop some form of gum disease at least once in their lifetimes. This condition is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene. However, some health conditions, medications, and hormonal fluctuations do contribute to the development of gum disease.
Periodontal disease begins when the gums become inflamed from the accumulation of plaque and tartar. Plaque is deposited on our gums and teeth daily. It consists of millions of bacteria and as they colonize, they form a sticky substance that coats teeth. Normally, most plaque is removed with brushing and flossing but when oral hygiene is inadequate, plaque will harden into tartar. Once plaque hardens, it’s only removable with professional dental instruments called scalers.
Tartar accumulation also causes the gums to pull away (recede) from teeth. Gum recession gives tartar new surfaces to accumulate as the roots of teeth become exposed.
Without proper oral hygiene and professional dental cleanings, gum disease will progress. As it advances, patients are at risk for developing loose teeth, systemic oral infections, bone deterioration, and tooth loss. Advanced periodontal disease is a serious health condition that requires professional intervention.
Our periodontist diagnoses and treats all forms of gum disease. Treatment option can vary depending on a patient’s unique circumstances.
Common types of treatment include periodontal therapy, medications like antibiotics, mouth rinses, and surgical procedures.
Periodontal therapy can involve procedures like scaling and root planing that removes tartar accumulation along the roots of teeth and infected tissue within the gums. The roots are then smoothed with a planing file that helps prevent the attachment of new tartar.
If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, we recommend calling our team at BC Perio to schedule a consultation with our skilled periodontist.