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Periodontal Disease FAQ

I sometimes feel that my gum is swollen, but it heals after a while. This symptom repeats and I feel that the tooth is moving step by step. Please explain why this is happening.

A swollen gum (gingiva) is due to inflammation. Symptoms are often chronic and inflammation progresses without subjective symptoms. However, when the immune system is compromised in the whole body, subjective symptoms including pain and discomfort develop. Alveolar bone supporting the teeth is gradually absorbed with progression of periodontal disease, leading to tooth transfer. Even if symptoms are relieved, periodontal disease is not cured. It is recommended to visit a dental office as early as possible.

Q: At what age should people start to check for signs of periodontal disease?

A: The causes of periodontal disease are plaques (biofilms) that attach to teeth due to insufficient brushing. Plaques accumulate day by day and this requires attention at all ages. Onset of periodontal disease generally occurs at around 40 years old.

Q: What is the relationship between systemic disease and periodontal disease?

A: The gingiva is a very sensitive tissue in the body. Most germs and bacteria in the body are present in the mouth. Recent studies have shown a relationship of periodontal disease with many systemic diseases. These include respiratory disorders, heart disease, diabetes and pregnancy-related disorders. Diabetes has a particularly strong relationship with periodontal disease and is the major cause of worsening of periodontal disease.

Q: How often should people visit a dental office for removal of tartar?

A: In general, if you brush your teeth properly, no tartar will build up. Tartar differs from person to person. Even if you are instructed on tooth-brushing, what you have learned is likely to become vague over time. Visits three or four times a year are recommended. It is preferable to identify an attending dentist (or dental office) who will continue to check for calculus, and this will allow the interval between routine checkups to be decided.

Q: Are smokers more likely to have periodontal disease?

A: Smoking destroys periodontal tissues (bone and gingiva) and smokers develop periodontal disease at a rate of two to eight times higher than that for non-smokers. Cases due to smoking are classified as “smoking-related periodontal disease” and smoking cessation is required to cure this condition.

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