Periodontitis – Its Causes, Warning Signs, and How to Prevent It


Periodontitis, also generally called gum disease or periodontal disease, begins with a bacterial infection that causes a chronic inflammation of the gums and may end — if not properly treated — with tooth loss due to destruction of the tissue that surrounds your teeth.

What is the Difference Between Periodontitis and Gingivitis, and Why is it an Issue?

Periodontitis and gingivitis are both forms of gum disease, while periodontitis is a more severe case of it. Gingivitis begins as gum inflammation. If gingivitis goes without treatment, it will likely develop into periodontitis, or gum disease. This is when the inner layers of the gum begin to pull away from the teeth. This forms pockets on either side of the teeth. Built up debris within these pockets causes infection in the gums and the gum line to shrink. As the gum line shrinks, the pockets enlarge, and you run the risk of teeth falling out and suffering from other serious oral conditions.

Warning Signs To Watch Out For

  • Gums that seem to be pulling away from your teeth
  • Swollen, tender, red or inflammation of the gums
  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing your teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Shifting teeth

Prevention & Treatment for Gum Disease

While there are a few methods of treatment for gum disease, the best thing to do if you haven’t begun experiencing any of the more severe symptoms of gum disease, is to take prevention methods. It’s good to get into the habit of checking your mouth daily as part of your overall dental health care routine. Look for changes in the color or appearance of your teeth, gums, tongue, and gingival tissues. By following proper plaque control measures, periodontitis prevention should be easy. You should also:

  • Making sure to brush (for 2-3 minutes) and floss at least twice daily
  •  Maintaining a healthy diet, trying your best to avoid eating starchy or sugary foods too often
  • Avoid cigarettes and chewing tobacco
  • Schedule regular check-ups and cleanings with your dentist

For those that have already reached the stage of severity and have begun experiencing the warning signs of periodontitis, there are actions you can take to ease the situation. These include:

  • Undergoing oral surgery such as:
    • Pocket depth reduction procedures
    • Regeneration
    • Soft tissue grafts
  • Undergoing a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing, which is in when the dental hygienist or dentist removes tartar from both above and below the gum line and smooths rough spots on tooth roots where plaque-causing bacteria tend to gather.

If you reside in the St.Catherines area, give our office a call at (905) 937-4673 to schedule an appointment.