Glossary: Periodontitis

Periodontal disease is the name for bacterial infections of the gums in the mouth. In most cases this disease is linked to poor oral hygiene. Some people however can have a genetic pre-disposition to the disease. The disease once initiated can progress more rapidly in people who have diabetes, especially if the diabetes is poorly controlled. Smoking is a strong risk factor for periodontal disease.

Symptoms redness or bleeding of gums while brushing teeth or biting into hard food (e.g. apples) halitosis or bad breath persistent bad taste in the mouth shaky teeth in later stages recession of gums resulting in apparent lengthening of teeth pockets between the teeth and the gums

Treatment regular brushing and either flossing or using the toothpick-like dental stick. treatment by a periodontist, which includes professional cleaning and may include drugs, and/or surgery

Prevention brushing properly on a regular basis (2-3 times a day) flossing daily, or using the toothpick-like dental stick regular dental checkups and professional teeth cleaning as required

Disease progression and predisposition According to the Sri Lanka Tea Labourer study, on the absence of any oral hygiene activity, approximately 10% will suffer from severe periodontal disease with rapid loss of attachment(>2mm/yr). 80% will suffer from moderate loss (1-2 mm/year) and the remaining 10% will not suffer any.

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