What is Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)?
Teeth have a support system comprised of bone surrounded by hard and soft tissue to hold teeth firmly in place. Gum disease damages the tooth support, causes teeth to loosen, and when not treated, leads to tooth loss.
Gum disease is preventable and in most cases can be treated successfully.
Is Gum Disease Common?
In a word - yes.
Recent studies by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly 1 out of every 2 individuals in the United States has some form of gum disease. The good news is once we have identified gum disease, we know how to treat and manage it.
Signs of Gum Disease
Individuals are often unaware of gum disease as it rarely causes pain until reaching severe levels. Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Bleeding of gums
- Red and swollen gums
- Loose teeth
- Persistent bad breathe or bad taste
Causes of Gum Disease
With time, bacteria inside our mouths form a sticky film known as plaque. Toothbrushing and flossing help prevent plaque formation but, with time, it can form hard deposits known as tartar. Tartar (also known as calculus) is unable to be removed by regular oral hygiene. With time, the plaque/tartar on the teeth cause damage to the supporting structures of the teeth, gum, tooth ligament, and bone. While plaque is the cause of gum disease, other factors, such as smoking, diabetes, stress, and other factors contribute to the disease process.
Impact of Gum Disease
Gum disease first causes inflammation of your gums, which is known as "gingivitis." Once detected, this early stage of gum disease be treated with no ill effects. Left unchecked, gum disease can progress to "periodontitis." In this stage, the gums pull away from teeth and causes areas to become infected. Bone loss occurs, teeth can loosen, and, if not treated, can lead to tooth loss.
Numerous studies have linked gum disease to overall health conditions. Research has shown a positive correlation between gum disease to diabetes, heart disease and stroke.