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What is periodontitis/ periodontal disease?

Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a common infection that damages the soft tissue and bone supporting the tooth. Without treatment, the alveolar bone around the teeth is slowly and progressively lost.

The name “periodontitis” means “means inflammation around the tooth.” Microorganisms, such as bacteria, stick to the surface of the tooth and in the pockets surrounding the tooth, and they multiply. As the immune system reacts and toxins are released, inflammation occurs.

Untreated periodontitis will eventually result in tooth loss. It may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other health problems.

Bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless membrane that develops over the surface of teeth, is the most common cause of periodontal disease. If plaque it not removed, it can harden to form tartar, or calculus.

Most cases of periodontitis are preventable through good dental hygiene.


Periodontitis Facts:

  • Periodontitis, or gum disease, affects the area around the tooth, including the bone and the gum.

  • It happens when bacteria and plaque build up around the tooth, and the immune system launches a reaction.

  • Good oral hygiene is part of both treatment and prevention, but sometimes surgery is necessary too.

  • Smoking increases the risk of gum disease and of treatment not working.

  • There appears to be a link between gum disease and conditions elsewhere in the body, such as heart disease.


Periodontitis Treatment:

The main aim of treatment is to clean out bacteria from the pockets around the teeth and prevent further destruction of bone and tissue.

Good oral hygiene:

Good oral hygiene should be followed daily, even if the teeth and gums are healthy, to prevent infection.

Proper dental care involves brushing teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day. If there is enough space between the teeth, an interdental brush is recommended.

Soft-picks can be used when the space between the teeth is smaller. Patients with arthritis and others with dexterity problems may find that using an electric toothbrush is better for a thorough cleaning.

Periodontitis is a chronic, or long-term, inflammatory disease. If good oral hygiene is not maintained, it will recur.

Scaling and cleaning:

It is important to remove plaque and calculus to restore periodontal health.

A healthcare professional will carry out scaling and debridement to clean below the gum-line. This may be done using hand tools or an ultrasonic device that breaks up the plaque and calculus. Root Planing is done to smooth rough areas on the roots of the teeth. Bacteria can lodge within the rough patches, increasing the risk of gum disease.

Depending on how much plaque and calculus there is, this may take one or two visits.

Cleaning is normally recommended twice a year, and possibly more often, depending on how much plaque accumulates.

Periodontal Medication:

A number of medicated mouthwashes and other treatments are available.

Prescription antimicrobial mouth rinse, such as chlorhexidine: This is used to control bacteria when treating gum disease and after surgery. Patients use it as they would a regular mouthwash.

Antiseptic chip: This is a small piece of gelatin that is filled with chlorhexidine. It controls bacteria and reduces periodontal pocket size. It is placed in the pockets after root planing. The medication is slowly resealed over time.

Antibiotic gel: This gel contains doxycycline, an antibiotic. It helps control bacteria and shrink periodontal pockets. It is placed in the pockets after scaling and root planing. It is a slow-release medication.

Antibiotic microspheres: Very small particles containing minocycline, an antibiotic, are placed into pockets after scaling and root planing. This slow-release medication is also used to control bacteria and reduce periodontal pocket size.

Enzyme suppressant: This keeps destructive enzymes in check with a low-dose of doxycycline. Some enzymes can break down gum tissue, but this medication can delay the body’s enzyme response. It is taken orally, as a pill, and it is used with scaling and root planing.

Oral antibiotics: Available in capsule or tablet form, these are taken orally. They are used short-term for the treatment of acute or locally persistent periodontal infection.

Advanced periodontitis:

If good oral hygiene and non-surgical treatments are not effective, surgical intervention may be needed.

Options include:

  • Flap surgery: The healthcare professional performs flap surgery to remove calculus in deep pockets, or to reduce the pocket so that keeping it clean is easier. The gums are lifted back, and the tarter is removed. The gums are then sutured back into place, so they fit closely to the tooth. After surgery, the gums will heal and fit tightly around the tooth. In some cases, the teeth may appear longer than before.

  • Bone and tissue grafts: This procedure helps regenerate bone or gum tissue that has been destroyed. New natural or synthetic bone is placed where the bone was lost, promoting bone growth.

  • Guided tissue regeneration (GTR) is a surgical procedure that uses barrier membranes to direct growth of new bone and gum tissue at sites where one or both of these are lacking. It aim to regenerate tissue and repair defects that have resulted from periodontitis.

In this procedure, a small piece of mesh-like material is inserted between the gum tissue and bone. This stops the gum from growing into bone space, giving the bone and connective tissue a chance to regrow. The dentist may also use special proteins, or growth factors, that help the body regrow bone naturally.

The dental professional may suggest a soft tissue graft. This involves taking tissue from another part of the mouth, or using synthetic material to cover exposed tooth roots.

Success depends on how advanced the disease is, how well the patient adheres to a good oral hygiene program, and other factors, such as smoking status.

Remedies for Periodontal Disease:

The effects of periodontitis can be stopped through regular checkups and treatment and continued good oral hygiene. This is also a part of treatment once an infection occurs.

It is important to:

  • Brush the teeth with a suitable toothbrush and toothpaste at least twice a day, carefully cleaning the chewing surfaces and the sides of the teeth.

  • Use floss or an interdental brush every day to clean between the teeth, in the spaces that the brush cannot reach. Dental floss can clean small gaps, but a dental brush is useful for a larger space.

  • Take extra care when cleaning around uneven surfaces, for example, closely-packed teeth, crooked teeth, crowns, dentures, fillings, and so on.

  • After brushing, use an antibacterial mouthwash to help prevent bacteria from growing and to reduce any inflammatory reaction in the mouth.

Home Remedies & Natural Alternatives for Periodontal Disease:

Advanced gum disease can be a sign of poor overall health. Improving your overall health along with a number of natural home remedies can definitely improve your oral health.

The kind of food you eat can greatly affect your dental health in several ways.

A diet low in refined carbohydrates and high on vitamin C, D, Fiber and omega 3 fatty acids is beneficial to lower the inflammation of gums and avert the symptoms. Add plenty of fresh fruits and colored veggies and nuts to maintain your dental health.

5 Effective Home Remedies for Periodontal Disease

Salt Water Gargle

Salt water rinse is the most beneficial home remedies in curing gums inflamed by gingivitis. Salt has natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that ease swelling and fight bacteria causing infections. Regular salt water gargling can help heal inflamed gums, reduce pain, combat bad breath and remove food deposits

-How To Do

In a glass of lukewarm water add ½ teaspoon of salt and mix well. Swirl the solution in the mouth for a few seconds and spit out the solution. To get respite from gum pain repeat this 2 to 3 times a day

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Vera gel works well in treating gum disease owing to its strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It greatly helps in reducing the symptoms associated with gum disease when applied topically or used as a natural mouth floss.

-How To Do

In a bowl add 2-3 tsp. of aloe Vera gel whisk well add little water to get the right consistency. Apply the gel on to the inflamed gums, let it stay for 10 minutes and rinse off with water. You can also use this as a mouth rinse by adding enough water. Repeat this process twice daily to alleviate pain.

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