The Truth About Periodontal Disease: Can It Be Cured?

Posted by Dr. John Paul Gallardo, DDS, PA
If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, bone damage, and an increased risk of other health issues such as stroke and heart attack
Gum disease is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and other structures that support the teeth

Periodontal disease, which is also known as gum disease, is a very common oral health problem that affects people of all ages. It is responsible for nearly 50% of adult tooth loss and can lead to severe health and dental complications if left untreated. This article will discuss the risks of living with periodontal disease, whether it can be cured, and how to prevent and treat it.

Periodontal disease, which is also known as gum disease, is a very common oral health problem that affects people of all ages. It is responsible for nearly 50% of adult tooth loss and can lead to severe health and dental complications if left untreated. This article will discuss the risks of living with periodontal disease, whether it can be cured, and how to prevent and treat it.

Risks of Having Periodontal Disease

Living with periodontal disease can have serious consequences for both your oral health and overall well-being. The disease can lead to bone loss, tooth loss, and damage to the soft tissues in your mouth. In addition, the harmful bacteria associated with periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream and contribute to other health conditions, such as heart disease and respiratory issues.

Can Periodontal Disease Be Cured?

While periodontal disease cannot be fully cured, it can be managed with proper care and treatment. The key is to catch the disease in its earliest stage, known as gingivitis before it progresses to more advanced stages of gum disease. If caught early, gingivitis can be reversed through improved oral hygiene practices and professional dental cleanings. However, once the disease has progressed to advanced periodontitis, the damage to the bone and soft tissues may be irreversible.

How to Prevent Periodontal Disease

Preventing periodontal disease involves maintaining good oral health habits and regular dental checkups. To keep your gums and teeth healthy, it is essential to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and use an antibacterial mouthwash. It is crucial to visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and examinations to detect any signs of gingivitis or periodontitis early.

Treatment Options for Periodontal Disease

If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend a course of treatment based on the severity of the condition. For mild to moderate periodontitis, non-surgical treatments such as scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) may be effective in removing bacterial plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces and root areas. This deep cleaning process also involves smoothing the root surfaces to prevent bacteria from reattaching.

For advanced gum disease, surgical treatments may be necessary to remove diseased tissue, reduce periodontal pockets, and promote healing. Some of these surgical procedures include flap surgery, bone grafting, and guided tissue regeneration. It is essential to work closely with your dentist to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and level of disease.

In conclusion, while periodontal disease cannot be entirely cured, it can be managed and controlled with proper care and treatment. By maintaining good oral hygiene practices and seeking professional dental care, you can reduce your risk of developing gum disease and protect your overall health.

Can home therapies help to treat Periodontal Disease?

While home therapies can help maintain oral health and prevent the development of periodontal disease, they are not a substitute for professional dental care. However, incorporating proper oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing daily, using an antibacterial mouthwash, and maintaining a balanced diet, can help manage the disease and prevent further progression. In addition, some effective home therapies that complement professional dental care include:

  • Oil Pulling: Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil, such as coconut or sesame oil, in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. This practice is believed to help remove bacteria and toxins from the mouth, reducing plaque buildup and inflammation. While oil pulling should not replace regular dental checkups, it can be a useful addition to your oral hygiene routine.
  • Green Tea: Green tea is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help support oral health. Drinking green tea regularly may help reduce gum inflammation, prevent plaque buildup, and improve bad breath. Incorporating green tea into your daily routine can be a beneficial addition to your oral care regimen.
  • Vitamin C and D Supplements: Vitamins C and D play essential roles in maintaining healthy gums and teeth. Vitamin C helps strengthen the connective tissues in the gums, while vitamin D helps with calcium absorption, promoting strong teeth and bones. Taking vitamin C and D supplements or increasing your intake of foods rich in these vitamins can support your oral health and help prevent periodontal disease.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, can help improve oral health by balancing the oral microbiome and inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. Consuming probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, and kefir, or taking probiotic supplements can support your oral health and help prevent periodontal disease.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for periodontal disease, as it weakens the immune system and makes it harder for your body to fight off infections. Quitting smoking can significantly improve your oral health and reduce your risk of developing gum disease.

Remember that these home therapies should be used in conjunction with regular dental checkups and professional cleanings to ensure optimal oral health. While they can help manage and prevent periodontal disease, they should not be considered a replacement for proper dental care.

The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Other Health Conditions

Periodontal disease is not just an oral health concern, as it can also contribute to various health conditions. The harmful bacteria associated with gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation in other parts of the body, leading to several health issues.

Gum Inflammation Can Cause Diabetes

Research has shown a bidirectional relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes. Gum inflammation can make it more challenging for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels, leading to poor glycemic control. On the other hand, high blood sugar levels can increase the risk of developing gum disease.

Chronic Inflammation Can Increase the Risk of Cancer

Chronic inflammation, a common characteristic of periodontal disease, has been linked to an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as oral, pancreatic, and colorectal cancer. By managing periodontal disease and reducing inflammation, you may lower your chance of developing these cancers.

Living with Periodontal Disease Can Affect Pregnancy

Periodontal disease has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as low birth weight and preterm birth. Pregnant women with gum disease are at a higher risk of delivering premature babies and babies with low birth weight. Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy is crucial for both the mother’s and the baby’s well-being.

Living with Periodontal Disease Can Affect Respiratory Health

Periodontal disease has been linked to respiratory health issues, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. The harmful bacteria present in the mouth due to gum disease can be inhaled into the lungs, causing infections and inflammation. That’s why it is important to maintain good oral hygiene in order to reduce the risk of developing respiratory health complications.

Gum Disease Increases Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Recent studies have found a connection between periodontal disease and an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The inflammation caused by gum disease may contribute to the degeneration of brain cells, leading to cognitive decline. Maintaining good oral health and addressing periodontal disease early can help protect your brain health and reduce the chance of developing these neurodegenerative diseases.

The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

During these checkups, your dentist or hygienist will perform a thorough oral exam to check for signs of inflammation or infection
Regular dental checkups provide the opportunity to detect the condition early and create an effective treatment plan

Maintaining good oral health and preventing periodontal disease relies heavily on regular dental checkups. During these visits, your dentist can detect early signs of gum disease, provide professional cleanings to remove plaque and tartar buildup, and recommend appropriate treatment options if necessary. By scheduling regular dental checkups with an experienced dentist like Dr. Gallardo in Miami, FL, you can effectively manage periodontal disease and protect your overall health. To schedule your dental checkup, please contact the office at 305-447-1447 or click here to fill out the online contact form.