Periodontal Health FAQs

Here at Image Dental Care in Red Deer, Alberta, we provide services to prevent and treat periodontal disease. We focus on preventative care and only recommend surgery when necessary.

Here are some common periodontal health-related questions we receive.

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums and bone securing the teeth. They include gingivitis and periodontitis.

Left untreated, these oral health issues can result in gum recession and tooth loss. According to studies, men, smokers, and seniors are more likely to develop gum disease.

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. It starts when harmful bacteria accumulate on the teeth and lead to gum inflammation. The gums become swollen due to bacterial growth, but this can still be reversed or treated. When gingivitis worsens, it becomes periodontitis.

Periodontitis, on the other hand, is the advanced stage of gum disease. The infection spreads from the gums to the tooth roots and destroys supporting structures that keep the teeth in place. This can lead to tooth loss and make speaking or chewing difficult.

Often, the first sign of gum disease is bleeding gums. However, seeing blood when you brush doesn’t necessarily mean you have gum disease. Here are other signs to look out for:

  • Red, tender, and swollen gums
  • Buildup of plaque or tartar deposits on the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or halitosis
  • Irregularities in the position of the teeth
  • Receding gums or teeth appearing to be longer
  • Pain when chewing
  • Changes in how your dentures fit

Signs may be hard to notice. Pain may also emerge only when the gum disease has already progressed.

Bleeding gums is often caused by the buildup of plaque along the gumline. When the bacteria-laden film called plaque isn’t removed, it hardens and irritates the gums.

Aggressive brushing and using a hard-bristled brush may also cause bleeding gums. Other factors linked to it are poor diet, stress, certain medications, and smoking.

If the bleeding persists, consult your dentist to determine the underlying cause. Usually, bleeding gums isn’t serious. But in some cases, it may need professional intervention.

Chronic bad breath or halitosis can’t be fixed by chewing gum or using sprays. The smell lingers even after brushing, and this may be a sign of something more serious.

It can be due to gum disease, and the formation of deep pockets around the teeth where odor-causing bacteria breed.

It can also be caused by dry mouth or the lack of salivary flow in the mouth from certain medications, medical conditions, and everyday habits.

Infections of the nose, mouth, and throat are also linked to it. If you feel your bad breath is chronic, see your dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Certain factors may cause an individual to be more susceptible to gum disease. Here are some of them:

  • Smoking. Smokers are more likely to develop gum disease, and the issue can also progress faster as compared to non-smokers.
  • Poor oral hygiene. Not brushing and flossing regularly, and delaying dental checkups and cleanings, can increase a person’s risk of developing gum disease.
  • Diabetes. Patients with diabetes are more likely to experience gum disease. Poor management of blood sugar levels can cause gum disease to advance more quickly.
  • Age. Gum disease is more common among adults over the age of 35.
  • Poor diet. Unhealthy food choices can increase the chances of the gums becoming inflamed or swollen.
  • Stress. Stress can weaken the immune system and make it harder for the body to fight harmful bacteria and infections.

During your regular dental checkups, we evaluate your gums and related structures. We measure the depth of your gum pockets to see if gum disease is present. We may also require X-rays to confirm our findings.

In some instances, we may do further testing to determine which treatment is necessary. Once we have classified the gum disease, we can prepare an individualized treatment plan.

Thankfully, gum health can be restored with early detection and treatment.

Mild forms of gum disease may be controlled and treated with an improved oral hygiene routine. We explain to you the causes of the gum disease and provide you with instructions on how you can keep your gums healthy.

Dental cleanings are also crucial to remove deposits that brushing and flossing can’t. We also get rid of bacterial growth in gum pockets. If necessary, we can prescribe antibiotics.

We then monitor the condition of your teeth and gums to determine if you need further intervention. We only carry out surgical procedures when conservative measures are no longer enough to treat the issue.

Periodontal disease can be prevented by being diligent with your oral hygiene habits and maintaining your routine dental appointments.

Lifestyle changes, such as eating healthy and quitting smoking, can also keep your gums and teeth in good condition.