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Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)
Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. Your gum tissue is not attached to the teeth as high as it may seem. There is a very shallow v-shaped crevice called a sulcus between the tooth and gums. Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket: generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket.
Periodontal diseases are classified according to the severity of the disease. The two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums. Gingivitis may lead to more serious, destructive forms of periodontal disease called periodontitis.
It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good oral hygiene at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Some factors increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
Several warning signs that can signal a problem:
What Is Periodontal (gum) Disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because periodontal (gum) disease is usually painless, however, you may not know you have it.
Periodontal (gum) disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums.
In the early stage of periodontal (gum) disease, called gingivitis, the gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing. In the more advanced stages of periodontal (gum) disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth can become seriously damaged. The teeth can become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.
What are the signs of periodontal (gum) disease?
If you notice any of the following signs of periodontal (gum) disease, see your dentist immediately:
How can I prevent periodontal (gum) disease?
The good news is that you can help prevent periodontal (gum) disease by taking good care of your teeth every day and having regular dental checkups. Here's how to keep your teeth and gums healthy:
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