Periodontal Disease, or more commonly known as Gum Disease, is a serious oral infection. More specifically, Periodontal Disease includes gingivitis and periodontitis In order to prevent loss of teeth, Periodontal Disease must be treated.
Literally, the word periodontal means “around the tooth,” so periodontal disease is an infection surrounding the tooth. It is a chronic bacterial infection that can lead to tooth loss. It affects the bone that supports teeth as well as the gums.
While Periodontal Disease can affect many teeth, it can also affect only one tooth. The bacteria from plaque causes inflammation in the gums. This is how Periodontal Disease begins. Plaque is the clear, sticky film that forms on the teeth constantly.
Periodontal Disease begins with gingivitis. This is the mildest form of the condition where the gums are inflamed, red and easily bleed. In most cases, patients don’t even realize they have gingivitis. They don’t experience much, or any pain or discomfort. However, it is generally caused by a lack of adequate oral hygiene. The good news is that the effects of gingivitis can be reversed. A combination of adequate oral hygiene at home and professional treatment will result in healthy gums and teeth.
Now, if gingivitis is not taken care of, the infection will continue and worsen. This means it will become periodontitis. You see, over time, plaque will spread beyond the film covering your teeth and grow under the gum line. The infection will continue spreading throughout the mouth.
Since bacteria produces toxins, those toxins are secreted into the gums, irritating them so much so that the body initiations a chronic inflammatory response. This is the body’s natural reaction to the toxins and it results in a break down of the bone and tissues that sustain the teeth. Eventually, the gums separate from the teeth altogether. More and more bone and tissue is destroyed causing loose teeth. In some cases of Periodontal Disease that are not properly treated, teeth may need to be removed.
It is important to maintain good oral hygiene at home and keep up with proper bi-annual cleanings with our office to keep your mouth healthy and happy.