The painless danger for teeth from about the age of 50, the risk increases significantly, not by tooth decay, but by another bacterial disease in the mouth: periodontitis, often mistakenly called periodontal disease, inflammation of the periodontium. The tricky part of the periodontal disease is that it usually runs completely painlessly in the early stages, and only supposedly insignificant symptoms indicate that the gums have become inflamed by bacteria and that treatment to the dentist is required.
How Does Periodontitis Develop?
The causes of periodontitis can be many years ago, without those affected realize that something is wrong. As incipient periodontitis rarely manifests itself in pain, it can progress untreated and go unnoticed. Only later, the significant effects such as the loosening of the teeth, the emergence of pus on the gingival margin or exposed tooth necks, which are associated with increased sensitivity to pain. At least now, dental treatment is required to avoid the loss of teeth.
Human saliva and mouth are full of bacteria, many of which are necessary and important to the immune system or digestion of food. In addition to these beneficial bacterial colonies, however, there are also harmful strains that form together with food remains a so-called biofilm, which is referred to as plaque or dental plaque. This is fixed to the surfaces of the teeth, the gum line, and the interdental spaces. If the plaque is not removed by thorough and regular brushing, inflammation of the delicate gums develops within a few days, with bacteria penetrating into the soft tissue.
As a defense reaction of the immune system develops inflammation of the gums, so-called gingivitis, which manifests itself as gum bleeding, redness or sensitivity to pressure. If the source of inflammation is not removed, for example by a professional tooth cleaning (PZR) at the dentist, the inflammation can penetrate deeper into the tissue and as a result, lead to a degradation of the tooth bone and the Zahnhaltefasern. This creates deep gaps between the gums and the tooth, called periodontal pockets, through which new bacteria can invade and further aggravate the periodontal disease. In the further course of the bone progressing progress progressively, the tooth loses more and more of hold in the jaw, relaxes, begins to wobble and finally falls out.
Recognize And Treat Periodontitis Early
The earlier a periodontal disease is detected and treated, the greater the chances of recovery. Therefore, periodontitis must always be treated consistently and the treatment should be carried out to completion. Because the biofilm in the periodontal pockets is not only a danger to the health of the teeth: From here, bacteria can also enter the bloodstream and thus cause further complications, such as diseases of the cardiovascular system to a heart attack. Diabetics are at particular risk because diabetes and periodontitis affect each other in a very unfavorable way: diabetics are generally more susceptible to bacterial infections, and conversely, untreated tooth inflammation can worsen diabetes. And pregnant women should also go to the dentist early and be examined. Because studies point out that pregnant women with untreated periodontitis have a higher risk of premature birth.
Risk Factor Smoking
Smokers also carry an increased risk, because the neurotoxin nicotine narrows the fine blood vessels in the gums and thus prevents a healthy blood circulation. This prevents bleeding gums as an important early warning signal. Many smokers are therefore in the wrong safety in terms of their oral health. Overall, smokers have a factor of 4 to 6 higher risk of contracting periodontitis, in addition, smokers speak on a periodontitis treatment significantly worse than non-smokers.
Therefore, anyone who can not or does not want to quit smoking should pay particular attention to thorough oral hygiene and prevent inflammation before it can even develop. The teeth should be brushed at least twice a day for at least two minutes, preferably with a soft toothbrush. Also, the use of interdental brushes and floss is highly recommended to remove the bacterial plaque even in the hard to reach areas between the teeth.
Likewise, dentists recommend a check-up every six months to detect and treat premature changes to the teeth and gums. This should also be professional teeth cleaning done in the tartar and plaque thoroughly removed and the teeth are then sealed. If you have a PZR regularly, you can reduce your risk of periodontitis by half.
Every Legally Insured Person Is Entitled To Check-Ups
Every two years, statutory insured persons can have their periodontitis check-up carried out by their dentist. The costs for this are completely covered by health insurance. With such a precaution, the dentist uses a probe to check the gum and determine whether gum pockets have already formed and how deep they are. It also checks whether the gums are bleeding or deposits are visible on the tooth bed.
These measurements provide the standardized “Periodontal Screening Index” (PSI), which helps to identify and assess periodontal disease. In case of suspicion, the dentist can take x-rays and further measurements to get a more accurate picture of the condition of the jawbone. In severe cases, a sample of the bacteria from the periodontal pockets in the laboratory is often examined in order to adjust further treatment.
Especially menopausal women should take advantage of the possibility of a free check-up because hormonal fluctuations mean that so-called hormonal gingivitis can develop, even with good oral hygiene, which causes the gums to swell and bacteria to penetrate more easily. Anyone who refrains from brushing their teeth daily due to pain or bleeding gums will aggravate the situation as the bacterial plaque is no longer removed regularly and thoroughly. Therefore, the regular check-ups at the dentist are especially important for this group of patients.