Preventing and Treating Periodontal Disease

Any attempt at preventing and treating periodontal disease, which attacks about 65 percent of Americans over age 50, must target the sulcus, the gap between the gum and the tooth. It must also target the periodontium, the part of the mouth that consists of the gum and supporting structures.

The structure of the tooth includes dentin, pulp and other tissues, blood vessels, and nerves embedded in the bony jaw. In dealing with periodontal disease and its treatment, it’s useful to know that periodontal diseases are divided into two groups:

  • Gingivitis, which causes lesions that affect the gums
  • Periodontitis, which damages the bone and connective tissue that supports the teeth

The goal of treatment is to stop the progress of the disease, or at least to control it. Other goals are to leave the tissues around your teeth in a condition that can be easily managed and, if possible, to repair the supporting structures, which include bone, gum and connective tissue.

Treatment works for 85 percent of patients who seek dental care early. Treatment for periodontal disease may even help lower other health risks.

Studies show that older people have the highest rates of periodontal disease and need to do more to maintain good oral health. It’s important to keep your mouth clean, healthy and feeling good, whatever your age.

Too many people do not appreciate that oral health is not just important for preserving a pretty smile and being able to eat corn on the cob.

While your likelihood of developing periodontal disease increases with age, the good news is that research suggests that these higher rates may be related to risk factors other than age.

According to new research, red wine assists in preventing and treating periodontal disease. Recent studies have also shown that red wine, and particularly grape seeds, possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activities and prevents heart disease.

The study was conducted by scientists from Université Laval in Québec, Canada, and it investigated the role of polyphenols, including those from red wine, in scavenging free radicals released by immune cells stimulated by components of the bacteria that cause periodontal disease.

The main goal in preventing and treating periodontal disease is to control the infection. The dentist, periodontist or dental hygienist will remove plaque through a deep cleaning method called scaling and root planing.

Medications may be used with treatments that include scaling and root planing, but they cannot take the place of surgery. Surgical options include flap surgery, and bone and tissue grafts.