Periodontal Disease

Many 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, moderate, and often advanced stages.

The word periodontal means “around the tooth”.  Periodontal disease (gum disease) deteriorates the gums and the bone that support the teeth.  Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth.  It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva.  Some bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that may inflame the gums.  Plaque and inflammation can play key roles in the development and progression of gum disease.  If plaque is not removed, it may turn into calculus (tartar) which can contribute to the gum disease process.

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 and health concerns such as bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pre-term low birthweight babies, and increased risk  of stroke.  Smoking also increases the 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 thoroughly or use dental floss.
  • Loose teeth – Can be caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
  • New spacing between teeth – Can be caused by bone loss.
  • Persistent bad breath – Can be caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  • Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
  • Receding gums – Gum moving away from its healthy position around the tooth exposing part of the tooth root and creating the appearance of longer tooth/teeth.
  • Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen/puffy.
  • Tenderness or Discomfort – May be a symptom of inflammed tissue.

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