Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a common infection that damages the soft tissue and bone supporting the tooth. Without treatment, the alveolar bone around the teeth is slowly and progressively lost.

The name “periodontitis” means “means inflammation around the tooth.” Microorganisms, such as bacteria, stick to the surface of the tooth and in the pockets surrounding the tooth, and they multiply. As the immune system reacts and toxins are released, inflammation occurs.

Untreated periodontitis will eventually result in tooth loss. It may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other health problems. Bacterial plaque, a sticky, colourless membrane that develops over the surface of teeth, is the most common cause of periodontal disease. If plaque it not removed, it can harden to form tartar, or calculus. Most cases of periodontitis are preventable through good dental hygiene.


The main aim of treatment is to clean out bacteria from the pockets around the teeth and prevent further destruction of bone and tissue.

  • Good oral hygiene
  • Scaling and Cleaning:

It is important to remove plaque and calculus below the gum line to restore periodontal health. This may be done using hand tools or an ultrasonic device that breaks up the plaque and calculus. Root planning is done to smoothen rough areas on the roots of the teeth. Bacteria can lodge within the rough patches, increasing the risk of gum disease.

Cleaning is normally recommended twice a year, and possibly more often, depending on how much plaque accumulates.

Advanced Periodontitis- Treatment

If good oral hygiene and non-surgical treatments are not effective, surgical intervention may be needed.

  • Flap surgery
  • Bone and tissue grafts: This procedure helps regenerate bone or gum tissue that has been destroyed. New natural or synthetic bone is placed where the bone was lost, promoting bone growth.


The signs and symptoms of periodontitis include:

  • inflamed or swollen gums and recurrent swelling in the gums
  • bright red, sometimes purple gums
  • pain when the gums are touched
  • receding gums, which make the teeth look longer
  • extra spaces appearing between the teeth
  • pus between the teeth and gums
  • bleeding when brushing teeth or flossing
  • a metallic taste in the mouth
  • halitosis, or bad breath
  • loose teeth

The person may say their “bite” feels different because the teeth do not fit as they did before.

Home remedies

The effects of periodontitis can be stopped through regular checkups and treatment and continued good oral hygiene. This is also a part of treatment once an infection occurs.

It is important to:

  • Brush the teeth with a suitable toothbrush and toothpaste at least twice a day, carefully cleaning the chewing surfaces and the sides of the teeth.
  • Use floss or an interdental brush every day to clean between the teeth, in the spaces that the brush cannot reach. Dental floss can clean small gaps, but a dental brush is useful for a larger space.
  • Take extra care when cleaning around uneven surfaces, for example, closely-packed teeth, crooked teeth, crowns, dentures, fillings, and so on.
  • After brushing, use an antibacterial mouthwash to help prevent bacteria from growing and to reduce any inflammatory reaction in the mouth.

Periodontitis vs gingivitis

Gingivitis occurs before periodontitis. It usually refers to gum inflammation, while periodontitis refers to gum disease and the destruction of tissue, bone, or both.

Gingivitis: Bacterial plaque accumulates on the surface of the tooth, causing the gums to become red and inflamed. The teeth may bleed during brushing. The gums are irritated and bothersome, but the teeth are not loose. There is no irreversible damage to bone or surrounding tissue.

Untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis.

Periodontitis: The gum and bone pull away from the teeth, forming large pockets. Debris collects in the spaces between the gums and teeth and infects the area.

The immune system attacks bacteria as the plaque spreads below the gum line into the pockets. Bone and connective tissue that hold the tooth start to break down, because of toxins produced by the bacteria. Teeth become loose and can fall out. The changes may be irreversible.

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