Periodontitis — the Big Word You Don’t Want

Periodontal Disease Don’t underestimate your gums. While they may look all pink like a piece of Double Bubble chewing gum, they are actually pretty tough. Remember, their job, after all, is to be the bodyguard for the roots of your teeth.

But prevention is key with these Hello Kitty-colored workhorses. Treat your gums well and do the required home dental care and they will take care of your teeth. Neglect them at your own peril!

Periodontal disease is the medical term for gum disease, periodontitis if you want to get downright clinical. It involves infection of the gums that can end up with tooth loss and an extra spot in the next Duck Dynasty episode.

But this can be said about gum disease — it’s oh so preventable. Prevention is a word we like a lot at Kalil & Kress. Not that we won’t address your larger problems, but everyone’s happier when some good home hygiene prevents them.

Plaque that doesn’t belong on a wall

The process begins with dental plaque, which is the sticky film that forms on your teeth throughout the day. Plaque has lots of bacteria in it. Dental plaque is easy to remove simply by daily brushing and flossing. In fact, a good home dental hygiene program of brushing twice daily for two minutes and flossing once a day is usually enough for most people to never have to deal with gum disease.

But if you only give home hygiene cursory attention, and if you throw in lifestyle choices such as smoking, plaque can have its way with your mouth. When plaque isn’t removed it hardens into calculus, also known as tartar. Now while you may like tartar sauce with some cod at a Portsmouth fish house, your professional hygienist at Kalil & Kress can only remove this kind of tartar.

The start is innocent — gum irritation

You won’t wake up one day and have gum disease. There will be signs. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that irritate the gums. How do you know if your gums are irritated? They are red and they bleed easily. Plus, the tartar that has formed gradually makes its way below the gumline, leading to more irritation. This irritation is called gingivitis.

You may have let things go, but at this point you can still reverse things with a professional cleaning from the team at Kalil & Kress and more diligent home care. But if you don’t opt for this route, the gum irritation worsens and the gums begin to pull away from the teeth causing pockets to form. These pockets hold all the bacteria from the plaque and that bacteria begin to attack the roots of the teeth. You can see where this is leading — tooth loss and jawbone deterioration.

Now, a trip to see either Dr. Kalil or Dr. Kress will be necessary just to keep your teeth. They’ll need to do things such as gum planing and scaling. There will probably be a root canal or two, along with plenty of antibiotics to kill the bacteria.

And to think, all of this could have been prevented with simple brushing and flossing at home, combined with twice-yearly visits to our office for professional cleaning and exams. Call us at 603-880-7004 to book your appointment.

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