What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is the most prevalent disease in the oral cavity and is responsible for more tooth loss than cavities. Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that if left untreated can lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth.
Although more than 50% of adults have some form of periodontal disease, those affected usually do not know they have the disease since Periodontal disease is one of the silent diseases (i.e. like high blood pressure). This means that you may have no pain from this disease until it has progressed to a very serious problem.
Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in the saliva forms plaque around the teeth which causes the gums to become inflamed. In the mildest form of the disease, gingivitis, the gums redden, swell and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Plaque releases toxins (poisons) which cause the gums to separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed. The main way to treat the disease is to control the bacteria in the mouth. One the primary outcomes of periodontal treatment is to reduce the deep pockets around the teeth where the bacteria hides.
|What are the dangers of periodontal disease?
|Periodontal Disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. More importantly, the infection releases toxins into the bloodstream leading to serious health risks.