Periodontal Disease – Everything You Need to Know. - Dental Guide Australia

Periodontal Disease – Everything You Need to Know.

You are brushing your teeth one morning and when you spit the toothpaste into the sink, it's a bit pink! You might think, as many people do, that it's no big deal. Everybody's gums bleed a little right?

The answer is, unfortunately, yes. However, the real problem is that bleeding gums are the first sign of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease, sometimes called pyorrhea or just gum disease, is caused by the progressive destruction of the bone and soft tissue that hold your teeth in your jaw. It is an infectious type of disease.

In Australia the average percentage of people with this disease is around 22%. People over 65 have rates approaching 53%. Indigenous people have significantly more periodontal problems than average.

This article will help you recognize and prevent infections, toothaches, and premature loss of teeth that are the common consequences of periodontal disease.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

Everyone has a mouth full of bacteria. These bacteria are necessary and serve a healthy purpose until they to start accumulate on your teeth. They then start forming plaque. Plaque is the sticky, white, fuzzy substance you see on your teeth when you haven't brushed them for a while.

Instead of serving a healthy purpose, this bacterial plaque begins to secrete toxic substances, hardens into calculus, and irritates the gums and bone, starting the infections. Poor oral hygiene tops the list of causes. Other important factors:

sign of periodontal disease


The symptoms of periodontal disease include

  • Bleeding gums
  • Pain
  • Swollen gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Gaps forming between your teeth
  • Formation of pus and abscesses
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in your mouth


Obviously, the main way to prevent this disease is to try and eliminate as many of the causes as possible. Some of the reasons why people get this gum and bone disease can't be changed, but here are a few things you can do.

1. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice per day: in the morning and when you go to bed at night. If you can brush your teeth after lunch, more the better. Good dental hygiene is the most effective and easiest way to protect your teeth, gums, and bones.

2. Stop smoking. When you stop smoking you not only do a good turn for your teeth and gums, but your whole body will thank you.

3. If you are diabetic, make sure your blood sugar levels are in the right ranges.

4. If you are grinding your teeth, your dentist can solve that problem for you by making a plastic splint or "Night Guard."

5. Check with your medical doctor and ask him about whether your medications may cause periodontal problems.

While you are thinking about preventing periodontal disease, dental cavities can be also prevented in many of the same ways.


1. If your only symptom is bleeding gums, the treatment is to brush your teeth three times a day. Bleeding gums will clear up in a few weeks. Check with your dentist to make sure you don't have any other symptoms.

2. The most important and easiest treatment is having a dentist or dental hygienist perform a dental cleaning (or prophylaxis as dentists call it) twice a year. That removes the hard calculus deposits from your teeth. Routine brushing and dental flossing can't remove calculus.

3. Once the disease has progressed to where there are periodontal "pockets" around your teeth and moderate or severe infection, periodontal surgery becomes necessary. Pockets are areas where the gum tissue stays near the "neck" of the tooth and the bone gets destroyed underneath, causing a hole between the teeth where food accumulates and can't be brushed out by the patient.

4. Periodontal surgery covers a wide range of different types of procedures. In general, though, the dentist removes the excess infected gum tissue, scrapes away the infected bone and sews the gum tissue back together.

5. Periodontal surgery is fairly painful and normally takes up to six weeks to recover from.

Getting your teeth cleaned costs about $500 to $1000. Periodontal surgery costs depend on the complexity of the surgery, but will run into the thousands of dollars.

So grab your toothbrush and floss. If you have any more questions about your dental health, check us out at Dental Guide Australia.

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