Periodontitis is an inflammatory disease affecting the tissues around the teeth – it is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that supports the tooth. All periodontal diseases, including periodontitis, are infections which affect the periodontium. The periodontium are the tissues around a tooth, tissues that support the tooth. With periodontitis, the alveolar bone around the teeth is slowly and progressively lost.
Microorganisms, such as bacteria, stick to the surface of the tooth and multiply – an overactive immune system reacts with inflammation. The main aim of the periodontist, dentist or dental hygienist, when treating periodontitis, is to clean out bacteria from the pockets around the teeth and prevent further destruction of bone and tissue.
For best treatment results, the patient must maintain good oral hygiene and care. This involves brushing teeth at least twice a day and flossing once per day. If there is enough space between the teeth, an interdental brush (Proxi-brush) is recommended. Soft-picks can be used when the space between the teeth is smaller.Patients with arthritis, and others with dexterity problems may find that using an electric toothbrush is better for a thorough clean.
Untreated periodontitis will eventually result in tooth loss, and may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and other health problems. Bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless membrane that develops over the surface of teeth, is the most common cause of periodontal disease.