The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin 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! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.
Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, but research also 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. Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affect these systemic diseases and conditions. 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 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 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