Screening for Periodontal Disease
The Key to Better Health Is Right Under Your Nose
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a fairly common condition that may lead to tooth loss. There are 2 main types: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is less serious, but more common than periodontitis. About 50% of Americans have gingivitis.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Bacteria and inflammation cause periodontal disease. Gingivitis begins with a buildup of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is made up of bacteria, food particles, and mucus. If plaque is not brushed away, it hardens into tarter that gets stuck on the teeth. The bacteria in plaque and tartar trigger inflammation of the gums. This is why periodontal disease is commonly called gum disease. The gum can pull away from the teeth, forming pockets between the tooth and the gum.
Bacteria grow in these pockets, and the inflammation spreads to the ligaments and bone that hold the teeth in place. This stage is called periodontitis. If the inflammation continues, the gums, ligaments, and bone are destroyed and teeth fall out. Gingivitis does not always progress to periodontitis. There are many factors that determine whether or not that happens.
What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
People with periodontal disease may have:
- Red and/or shiny gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Gums that hurt when touched
People with more severe disease may also have:
- Swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
Are You at Risk?
Everyone has bacteria in their mouth, but not everyone gets periodontal disease. The following things increase the chances of getting it:
- High amounts of disease-causing bacteria
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking tobacco
- Stress (teeth grinding or clenching)
- Poor diet
- Other medical conditions: Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity, Pregnancy, Rheumatoid arthritis, and Osteoporosis/osteopenia
- Certain medications
- Genetic (DNA) makeup
What You Should Do if You Are Concerned About Periodontal Disease?
Practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth and flossing every day. Be sure to go to the dentist regularly to get your teeth cleaned and looked at.
How can OralDNA® Labs help?
OralDNA® Labs is a laboratory company that offers 2 tests that we might want to use. The MyPerioPath® test finds out which bacteria are triggering a patient’s periodontal disease. These bacteria could be different in different patients. The MyPerioID® PST® test can tell if a patient has specific changes in his/her DNA. These changes might mean the patient is at a greater risk of more serious disease. The information provided by these 2 tests helps us come up with a treatment plan that’s right for you.
These tests are performed using a saliva sample. It is easy and fast to collect. You simply swish a sterile saline solution in your mouth and spit it into a tube. The sample is then sent to OralDNA® Labs, where the test is performed. After testing, results are sent to our office with a follow-up consultation.