Oral Health

Healthy gums are fundamental to beautiful teeth and help prevent health problems such as heart or respiratory disease. Therefore, adequate dental care and professional oral hygiene at regular recall intervals are necessary to make sure your teeth will remain a source of pride.

What are the warning signs of gum disease?

Healthy gum tissue is pinkish in colour, fits snugly around the teeth and does not bleed when brushing, flossing or probing.

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums which causes them to become red, swollen and tender, and to bleed easily. If left untreated, it may also affect the jawbone and gradually destroy it.

The resulting periodontitis may produce little or no discomfort and thus go unnoticed even when the disease is progressing.

Warning signs include bad breath, changes in the position of teeth, loose teeth and increasing exposure of tooth surface due to receding gums.
 
What happens in gingivitis and periodontitis?
In both conditions, the gums recede from the teeth creating increased spaces between them. These so-called pockets provide an ideal environment for bacteria. Due to the resulting chronic infection more and more of the tissue supporting the tooth is destroyed by degenerative processes in the bone.

Typical course of periodontitis

1. Inflammation of the gums
2. Formation of plaque and concrements
3. Destruction of the tooth-supporting tissue
4. Risk of tooth loss

Inflammation of the tooth-supporting structures is caused by toxins produced by bacteria. Normally, there are more than 300 different types of bacteria in a healthy mouth, most of which are harmless.

Gingivitis and subsequently periodontitis can only develop if the number of bacteria increases as a result of inadequate oral hygiene, if there is an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, or if the immune system is compromised in some way.

The more aggressive the bacteria and the more depressed the immune function, the earlier the onset and more severe the disease.

Gingivitis and periodontitis are caused by bacteria accumulating in the sticky colourless film that constantly forms on your teeth (plaque). This film, however, becomes visible to the naked eye only if it is not removed for a few days. It is the toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque which then cause a chronic inflammation.

Effects on your general health

Periodontitis is a risk factor for

  • coronary heart disease (narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood to the heart)
  • endocarditis (an inflammation of the inner layer of the heart)
  • premature birth
  • atheroma (fatty deposits on the arterial wall)
  • respiratory disease

Link

For more information about periodontitis and its influence on general health go to www.dgparo.de.

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