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Periodontitis : Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Periodontitis is an infection of the gums that damages soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth. This condition needs to be treated immediately because it can cause tooth loss. Periodontitis mostly affects adolescents.

When periodontitis occurs, bacteria accumulate as plaque at the base of the tooth, damaging tissue around the teeth and causing tooth abscesses, and at risk of causing bone damage.

Periodontitis Symptoms

There are several types of periodontitis, but the most common are acute periodontitis, where some sufferers are adults. Someone affected by periodontitis will experience symptoms, such as:

  • Pain when chewing.
  • The gums are swollen and are red or purplish.
  • Gums feel soft to the touch.
  • The buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth.
  • The mouth feels bad and the breath becomes smelly.
  • Gum shrinkage, so the size of the teeth looks higher than usual.
  • Pus out on the part that limits the teeth and gums.
  • The distance between one tooth and the other feels tenuous.
  • Dislodged teeth.

Causes of Periodontitis

Periodontitis is caused by an irreversible gum inflammation. This inflammation is triggered by the buildup of plaque so that it gradually forms tartar as a medium for bacterial breeding.

Bacteria that initially only irritate the gums around the teeth (gingiva), eventually cause the formation of gaps or pockets in the gums that separate the gum tissue from the teeth so that the teeth are easily dislodged. The bacteria will infect even deeper to damage the tissues and bones in the gums.

In addition to inflammation of the gums that are not treated, there are several factors that can increase a person's risk of developing periodontitis. Among them are smoking, obesity, malnutrition, consumption of drugs that reduce the production of saliva, hormonal changes such as menstruation and pregnancy, or certain diseases, such as diabetes and leukemia.

Periodontitis Diagnosis

The diagnosis of periodontitis can be determined after a dental examination, including checking for bleeding due to plaque, and measuring the depth of the gap between the gum and the tooth that exceeds 4 mm. Whereas to determine the level of bone damage due to periodontitis, the doctor will use a panoramic X-ray examination.

Periodontitis Treatment

The goal of treatment for periodontitis is to reduce inflammation, remove gaps between the gums and teeth, and overcome the causes of gum inflammation. If the periodontitis is not severe, the doctor will usually prescribe antibiotic drink or topical (in the form of a gel or mouthwash) to eliminate the bacteria that causes the infection. In addition, scaling or cleaning tartar is also needed to remove tartar and bacteria from the surface of the teeth or the bottom of the gums.

If bacteria and plaque accumulate in the root of the tooth, the root planing method is needed to clean and prevent further accumulation of bacteria and tartar, and smooth the root surface.

For cases of severe periodontitis, the doctor will usually apply the surgical procedure. Surgery can be done in the form of surgery to reduce the bag or gland gap, surgery to transplant soft tissue damaged by periodontitis, bone graft surgery to repair the bones around the root of the tooth that has been destroyed, and remove the affected tooth so that it is not getting worse and attack another area ,.

Prevention of Periodontitis

Periodontitis can be prevented by maintaining dental hygiene so that it is free from the bacteria that cause it. Brush your teeth after each meal or at least 2 times a day, namely in the morning and at night before going to bed. Use a soft toothbrush, and change your toothbrush after using it for 3-4 months. Don't forget to clean between teeth using dental floss. In addition to diligently brushing teeth, routinely check your teeth to the dentist every 6 months.



1. NIDCR. NIH (2018). Gum Disease. 

2. Mayo Clinic (2017). Diseases & Conditions. Periodontitis.

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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.