Periodontal Disease

The word periodontal means "around the tooth." Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that supports the teeth. Plaque, a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva, turns into calculus (tartar) that if not removed begins to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it, because the disease is usually painless in its early stages.

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, and cardiovascular disease, with increased risk during pregnancy. Researchers are still undecided on whether inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects these systemic diseases and conditions.

What is known is that smoking increases the risk of periodontal disease, and good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk.

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 connect the tooth to the bone).
  • New spacing between the teeth – caused by bone loss.
  • Persistent bad breath – caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  • Pus around the teeth and gums – a sign that an infection is present.
  • Receding gums – loss of gum 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.

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