Parodontitis is one of the most widespread diseases in Germany. The German Oral Health Study V from 2016 shows that more than half of the population aged 35 and older had periodontitis.
It was almost two-thirds among people aged 65 and older and even almost 90% among older seniors (75-100-year-olds).
But what actually is parodontitis, colloquially also called periodontosis?
The periodontium, in technical language periodont, is composed of the following structures:
In medicine, the suffix “-itis” describes an inflammatory process. In short: Parodontitis = inflammation of the periodontium.
If the parodontitis with its tooth pockets remains untreated, tooth loss is imminent. The risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, premature birth and dementia also increases.
Parodontitis is not painful at the beginning. A first sign is inflamed gums, which often manifests itself with bleeding during or after brushing. Many also notice receding gums, bad breath or even already a mobility of the teeth.
Before periodontitis develops, inflammation of the gums occurs, i.e. gingivitis.
Gingivitis is completely curable. With good dental care, a balanced diet and regular dental cleanings by your dentist, there is no loss of tissue and bone.
The cause of gingivitis and parodontitis is always bacteria. Bacteria are part of our oral microbiome. Both “good” and “bad” ones live in an ecological balance.
If this balance is upset by certain risk factors, the disease-causing germs and the bacterial biofilm can multiply rapidly and gum recession occurs.
Among other things, these risk factors can be the cause of parodontitis:
Gum recession caused by stress in particular should not be underestimated. Physical and psychological stress cause the release of substances that promote inflammation.
IMPORTANT: Parodontitis is contagious, because the bacteria can be transmitted through saliva. Therefore, your partner as well as your children should present themselves to the dentist. He or she will then perform a periodontal screening index and, if necessary, other diagnostic measures.
As already mentioned, periodontitis is always a chronic disease. However, there are also different forms or degrees of severity.
The best known and most widespread form is the “chronic disease”. Strictly speaking, the “chronic” form no longer exists since summer 2021. Periodontitis is now classified into staging and grading. Admittedly, somewhat difficult to understand for laypersons. Therefore, here is the translation:
Stage I and II describes a mild but acute parodontitis. Stage III, on the other hand, describes advanced parodontitis and stage IV severe parodontitis. In these stages, tooth loss, tooth migration or tooth loosening may have already occurred.
Aggressive parodontitis has also been replaced by the molar incisor pattern.
Particularly in this form, which mostly affects younger people under the age of 35, there is rapid bone and tissue loss. Pus or secretion formation may be possible. This aggressive parodontitis, or rather the germs, are often transmitted by the parents and are often treated with a supporting antibiotic.
Are you about to have periodontal treatment or have you already had one? Then there are a few things for you to keep in mind.
During periodontal treatment, your gum pockets are treated. This cleaning is usually not painful, because in most cases the gum pockets are anesthetized. The pockets are cleaned with ultrasound and special instruments and the bacterial biofilm is removed.
This periodontal treatment is covered by statutory health insurance if there are certain indications for it. Implants or already strongly mobile teeth with severe bone loss are not paid for.
Nevertheless, periodontal treatment is not unnecessary here. It even makes sense to have the implants or teeth treated as well, because the bacteria in the oral cavity can migrate and repopulate cleaned root surfaces. After the gum treatment you should change your toothbrush and interdental brushes. You should continue to care for and brush your teeth as normal.
IMPORTANT: There is no cure for parodontitis. It is a chronic disease, but you can live with it wonderfully if you keep your regular appointments for supportive periodontal therapy (teeth cleaning after periodontal treatment). Also, try to reduce your risk factors, then you will not have to expect further gum recession under normal circumstances.
You can prevent periodontal disease by first and foremost avoiding gingivitis.
If you keep these things in mind, nothing will stand in the way of a successful therapy and you can keep your oral cavity healthy for a long time.
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