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Oral health: ‘Halitosis’ is an indication of periodontal disease – warning signs

This Morning: Dr Chris warns bad breath can indicate diseases

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Periodontal disease occurs when the gums are inflamed and infections are brewing around the gum line and bones that support the teeth. What are the warning signs? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alongside bad breath, other indications may include red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums. The condition could also lead to painful chewing, loose and sensitive teeth, and gums that have pulled away from the teeth.

What caused periodontal disease?

When bacteria in the mouth infects tissue surrounding a tooth, inflammation ensues, and periodontal disease develops.

Bacteria on the teeth form plaque, which can then harden to tartar, called calculus.

“Tartar build-up can spread below the gum line, which makes the teeth harder to clean,” the CDC added.

Certain risk factors can increase the risk of periodontal disease, which requires cleaning from a dental professional.

Risk factors include smoking, diabetes, poor oral hygiene, stress, crooked teeth, and defective fillings.

If you have periodontal disease, in order to keep the condition under control, you are required to brush and floss every day.

Moreover, an annual dental health check-up can address any symptoms of the condition.

Experts at the Mayo Clinic warned that periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.

Not only that, the bacteria responsible for periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream through gum tissue.

As such, other body parts can be affected; the condition has been associated with respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease, and diabetes.

Oral hygiene tips

Brushing twice a day is standard advice, but did you know you have to floss before you brush your teeth?

“Flossing before you brush allows you to clean away the loosened food particles and bacteria,” the CDC explained.

“Good oral hygiene prevents the development of an environment around your teeth that is favourable to specific bacteria that cause periodontal disease.”

Treatment methods for periodontal disease can include scaling, root planing, and antibiotics.

Scaling removes tartar and bacteria from the tooth surfaces and below the gum line.

Root planing, on the other hand, involves smoothing the root surfaces to discourage further build-up of tartar and bacteria.

If antibiotics are prescribed by a dentist, the aim is to usually control a bacterial infection.

In more advanced stages of the disease, treatment options can include pocket reduction surgery, soft tissue grafts, bone grafting, and guided tissue regeneration.

If any of these treatments are needed, your dentist will talk you through the procedure.

Should you feel anxious about getting dental treatment, do speak up about it, and hopefully your fears will be alleviated.

For those with periodontal disease, you may be required to visit the dentist more often than once a year.

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