Periodontitis, popularly known as periodontosis, is an often underestimated disease.
Perhaps you have also heard of it: periodontitis (periodontosis) is on everyone's lips - literally. But what are the most common causes, what can be done about it and above all - what are the effects of this disease? Many questions that Dr. Roberto Lhotka answers here, and in easy-to-understand language, so that even non-medical professionals understand how the disease periodontitis develops and how to avoid and fight it.
What is periodontitis actually?
Periodontitis is an inflammation of the gums or the so-called periodontium. This inflammation quickly becomes permanent, i.e. persistent, and progresses over time.
Periodontitis - the insidious widespread diseaseeit
The constantly progressive inflammation is widespread: Periodontitis (periodontosis) is by far the most common disease in Austria. From the age of 35, 52% of people are already affected by periodontitis. The older the age, the higher the number of sufferers - retired people almost always suffer from it (90%). However, the disease can also occur in younger patients - usually undetected, it spreads more and more over the years. This often leads to widespread symptoms. In adolescents, the disease can also progress rapidly.
How does periodontitis develop and what is the course of the disease?
Periodontitis - simply put - is caused by the mixture of plaque and bacteria. On our teeth there is the so-called "dental plaque", also called "plaque". This is a layer of bacteria. If we do not remove this plaque by thorough and regular brushing, the bacteria multiply more and more. After only 3 - 4 weeks this can lead to swollen gums, bleeding gums, inflammation and the formation of small loose spots on the gums, the so-called "gum pockets". Bacteria now creep into these gum pockets, inflammation occurs and the gums thicken, redden and bleed. This inflammation of the gums is medically called "gingivitis. If no action is taken at this stage, the way is paved for advanced periodontitis with initial gum loss and later bone loss. It can happen in exceptional cases that the periodontitis heals again, but normally the bacterial infestation worsens, the disease progresses further and the complaints become worse and worse. Finally, this leads to the degradation of the jaw bone and tooth loss.
What triggers periodontitis?
Periodontitis is often caused by inadequate, imprecise, incorrect or insufficient oral hygiene - in other words, by imprecise, incorrect or irregular tooth brushing. Other reasons also include smoking, stress, poor diet and also diabetes mellitus. A weak immune system also increases the likelihood of disease.
Periodontitis (periodontosis) always develops from gum inflammation, for this reason one should be very attentive even in case of minor gum problems and always contact the dentist.
What happens if periodontitis is not treated?
If periodontitis (periodontosis) is not treated, the slowly progressing inflammation increasingly causes the gums to break down first. This process can then easily spread to the bone, which dissolves. As a result, the teeth may become loose and eventually one or more teeth may be lost.
At the beginning, the disease is very inconspicuous and above all painless. Therefore, it is often detected late - or even too late. Likewise, it can also happen that it is often only detected at a very advanced stage, which has far-reaching negative effects on dental health. But not only that: in addition, severe periodontitis in particular also has a major impact on the overall organism if left untreated.
How to recognize periodontitis - the 5 most important identifying features
Periodontitis symptom #1: bleeding gums
The first sign is always bleeding gums. At first, the gums bleed only a little and irregularly, but the symptom quickly expands and constant bleeding is the result.
Many patients tell me they don't floss because it always bleeds so much. This is a total fallacy. This is because the bacteria sitting on the tooth surface cause the inflammation and thus the bleeding, not the flossing! If it bleeds, it's a sign that flossing needs to be done even more thoroughly at that spot.
Periodontitis symptom #2: inflammation
After the gum bleeding has started, inflammations follow, mostly in the interdental spaces, but they can also occur in the oral cavity. If chronic gingivitis persists, you must undergo periodontitis treatment at the latest.
Periodontitis symptom #3: Free tooth necks
So-called gum pockets begin to form. They are noticeable because they cause the gums at the neck of the tooth to become loose. The gums are also often reddened at this stage and begin to recede. Gaps appear between the teeth, free tooth necks. The teeth become visually longer and painful. Subsequently, the jaw bone is degraded. The teeth begin to wobble and in the worst case, tooth loss occurs.
Periodontitis symptom #4: Bad breath
Due to the inflammation and the pus that forms in the gum pockets, more and more bacteria grow, which leads to bad breath. Together with the other symptoms, patients often feel very uncomfortable, withdraw, reduce their social contacts.
Periodontitis symptom #5: Wobbly teeth
If wobbly teeth are added to the other symptoms, it's high time - periodontitis is already advanced and must be treated professionally immediately.
What effects does periodontitis have on our health?
Periodontitis affects the whole body, because it has a great impact on the whole organism. The bacteria that cause periodontitis can enter the bloodstream from the mouth and spread throughout the entire body. Therefore, it is a significant risk factor in heart attacks, arteriosclerosis, respiratory diseases and diabetes mellitus (diabetes). Another reason to go for regular dental check-ups and thus avoid periodontitis!
How to cure periodontitis?
First, the not-so-good news: periodontitis - if left untreated - is a progressive process of destruction, and once destroyed, it can no longer be cured. Sounds dramatic, but it is. Lost tissue cannot be brought back, gums or jawbone unfortunately do not grow back. The lost bone cannot be restored - but help is still available.
However, progress can very well be stopped and inflammatory processes can be contained and healed. However, this requires close cooperation between the dentist, oral hygienists and the patient. The key to success lies in constant teamwork between experts and patients.
Now the good news: Periodontitis cannot be cured, but it can be stopped by taking just a few simple measures. Early detection followed by thorough oral hygiene is of course crucial, but so is proper care - which is why I developed Dr. Lhotka Vienna Organics Organic Tooth Oil. Through a special mixture of essential oils, which have an antibacterial and antiviral effect, I have been achieving considerable success with periodontitis patients for many years.
Therapy and domestic measures
The therapy itself consists of a thorough and complete removal of all plaque and especially all tartar. This procedure must be performed by medically trained personnel. Thus, professional teeth cleaning is necessary. Brushing alone is not enough, because part of the plaque and deposits, the so-called concrements are located under the gum line and you can not get there with a normal toothbrush. These deposits can only be removed by an expert, i.e. a dentist or oral hygiene expert, using special equipment. After that, it is important to optimize daily dental care at home and, above all, to perform it thoroughly and regularly in order to maintain constant healthy gums.