What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection caused by bacteria and plaque. In its earliest stage it is called gingivitis and is both preventable and reversible. The disease progresses silently, often without pain or obvious symptoms that would alert you to its presence.
Warning Signs of Gum Disease
- Gums that bleed when brushed or flossed
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Chronic bad breath or bad taste
- Calculus/Tartar around teeth (hard creamy brown masses on the teeth)
- Detachment of the gums from your teeth
- Pus that appears from your gum line
- Teeth that have become loose or changed positions
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
How does it develop?
Plaque, a colorless sticky coating that forms on your teeth and root surfaces underneath the tissue, creates a by-product called bacterial biofilm. The biofilm then causes a bacterial infection and inflammation in your gum tissue that deteriorates and destroys the gum and bone around your teeth. This causes the gums to pull away from your teeth, forming a pocket that will become filled with more plaque. The disease, now referred to as periodontal disease, has caused irreversible damage. It is through this inflammation that we experience the damaging effects associated with bacteria passing into the blood stream and possibly affecting other organ systems.
Additional Risk Factors for the Development of Periodontal Disease
- Smoking leads to 4x greater risk
- Previous Heart Disease or Stroke
- Excessive Bite Forces
- Suppressed Immune System
- Inflammatory Diseases (Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lichen Planus)
If you have any of these symptoms or notice bleeding while brushing or flossing please consult with your hygienist regarding treatment options.