Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that damages the gums and bone around the teeth. Without treatment, it can lead to tooth loss and put your overall health at undue risk. Dr. Deborah K. Ruprecht, DDS helps patients by treating periodontal disease in offices in Newport Beach, Ladera Ranch, and Solana Beach, California. To learn more about your oral health status call Dr. Ruprecht at 949-833-2263 or request an appointment online.

Periodontal Disease Q&A

What causes periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease (gum disease) begins when bacteria build up below the gumline and trigger an inflammatory response. Early symptoms of gum disease (gingivitis) include red, swollen gums and bleeding.

As disease continues to progress, bacterial toxins erode the supporting tissues of the teeth including bone and soft tissue. The signs include gum recession, loose and shifting teeth, bad breath, and eventual tooth loss.

This advanced stage of gum disease is called periodontitis. Periodontal disease may also increase your risk of other serious health complications including stroke, diabetes, atherosclerosis, pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and more.

What are the statistics on periodontal disease in the U.S.?

  • 70.1% of adults 65 years or older have periodontal disease (risk increases with age)
  • 64.2% of current smokers have gum disease
  • 56.4% of men vs. 38.4% of women have periodontal disease
  • 47.2% of adults 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease
Source: National Institute of Dental and Cranial Research, CDCP

Can I prevent periodontal disease?

The good news is you can prevent periodontal disease through good oral hygiene habits and by following a consistent program throughout life. You should brush for two minutes twice day, floss at least once a day and see your dentist for professional cleanings three to four times a year. By doing so, you can keep your gums and teeth healthy and discover any problems early — before they advance. Prevention care is not only possible, but it is also proven to be the most effective way of achieving long-term oral health.

What are the risk factors for periodontal disease?

If one or more of these factors apply to you, you should see a periodontist:

  • Poor oral health habits: Without regular brushing and flossing, you have an increased likelihood of plaque buildup and gum disease.
  • Tobacco use: Users of cigarettes and chewing tobacco are at an increased risk of periodontal disease. Tobacco use is said to be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease.
  • Medications: Certain drugs can reduce the flow of saliva, and the mouth can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea often results in mouth breathing, which encourages bacteria growth in a person’s mouth during sleep and may lead to plaque buildup and contribute to progressive gum disease.
  • Genetic predisposition: Research has found some individuals may be genetically susceptible to periodontal disease.
  • Age: Adults 65 and older have higher incidences of periodontal disease according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How is periodontal disease treated?

Depending on the severity of disease, Dr. Ruprecht may recommend treatments ranging from deep cleaning and antibiotics to surgery for pocket reduction or tissue grafts. She also works closely with her patients with ongoing care that includes a prevention program of periodontal maintenance visits. This includes addressing any contributing factors that may weaken your immune system such as diabetes, smoking, stress, diet and more.

If you have experienced the symptoms described here or suspect you have periodontal disease, please contact Dr. Ruprecht by calling 949-833-2263 or requesting an appointment online.

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