Oral Health / Vanderbilt General Dentistry / Periodontal (Gum Disease) Therapy

Periodontal (Gum Disease) Therapy

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than to cavities. In fact, 3 out of 4 adults are affected by periodontal disease at some time in their life. Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums. These infections gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is with good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily. 

Bacterial plaque causes periodontal disease and decay. Plaque is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gum line. It constantly forms on your teeth. Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this irritation goes on without treatment, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that hold teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.

If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). By thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.

Factors affecting the health of your gums:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition