Gum disease is a very complex disease. Multiple different species of bacteria can cause periodontal disease. These bacteria form plaque. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria and sugars that constantly forms on our teeth. It is also the main cause of cavities, and can harden into tartar. Tartar, sometimes called calculus, is plaque that has hardened on your teeth. Tartar gives plaque a bigger surface area on which to grow and a much rougher surface to adhere to, which can lead to more serious dental conditions, such as cavities and gum disease. This plaque leads to “pockets” developing around teeth in your gums, bleeding gums, bone loss, bad breath, and loose teeth if not treated correctly.
Although bacteria are the main cause of gum disease, there are many other factors that affect the disease process. Other than bacteria, one of the other major factors involved is your immune response. Gum disease is not genetic, but the immune response is. Some people’s immune systems simply do not fight the gum disease bacteria as well as others. This is why you can have the bacteria present and have gum disease, while your husband may have that same bacteria present yet not have gum disease, even if your oral hygiene habits are consistent. Both of you harbor the same bacteria, yet not everyone will get gum disease.
Who should I blame if I have been diagnosed with periodontal disease?
So if you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease – blame your immune response. To a limited degree you can improve your immune response by taking care of yourself: Eating well, exercise and reduce bad habits such as smoking and drinking soda pop. However, your body just may not have the ability to fight periodontal bacteria.
But don’t despair! The good news is that with professional periodontal cleanings (performed in our Boulder office) and excellent oral hygiene, you can remove the plaque/bacteria off the tooth and root surface, so there is no need for an immune response and, thus, no gum disease or cavities! Our job is to give you the tools and teach you the techniques necessary for you to accomplish excellent oral health.
So don’t get mad at your husband if he has terrible oral hygiene yet doesn’t get gum disease – just hope he has passed this wonderful genetic trait on to your children!
Treating gum disease
Gum Disease treatment is one of the many advanced dentistry procedures that I frequently perform as part of my practice. The sooner you treat gum disease, the sooner you will results. To schedule an appointment, please call our Boulder office at (303) 544-9636.
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