Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease

The word periodontal means “around the tooth”.  Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth.   Bacterial plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva.  If the plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar) a hardened substance that bacteria form to prevent you from brushing or flossing them off your teeth.  When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone.  Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, bleeding gums, bad breath and loosening of your teeth.

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it.  Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Without regular exams and teeth cleanings, periodontal disease will destroy the supporting bone around your teeth.  By the time this condition becomes painful, it is often too late to save your teeth.

Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Recent studies have now linked periodontal disease to early onset of Alzheimers/dementia disease. Inflammation from bacteria associated with periodontal disease appears to be one of the leading factors causing these systemic diseases and conditions.  Smoking also greatly increases your risk of periodontal disease.

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
  • Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
  • New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
  • Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  • Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
  • Receding gums – Loss of gum tissue and bone around a tooth.
  • Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
  • Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth by producing toxins that breakdown healthy tissues.

Periodontal disease cannot be cured, it can be controlled with a maintenance program with our office and good oral hygiene on your part done daily without fail.  Adherence to your maintenance program will reduce your risk that your periodontal disease will become active and once again attack the bone supporting your teeth.

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