Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a set of inflammatory conditions affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums become swollen, red, and may bleed. In its more serious form, called periodontitis in which the gums can pull away from the tooth, bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or fall out. Bad breath may also occur.

Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures around the teeth. These include the gums, the cementum that covers the root, the periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone. In the earliest stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, the infection affects only the gums. In more severe forms of the disease, all of the supporting tissues are involved.

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. ItOur mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth. It’s typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque to build up on the teeth and harden.Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar. In advanced stages, periodontal disease can lead to sore, bleeding gums; painful chewing problems; and even tooth loss.

There are a number of risk factors for gum disease, but smoking is the most significant. Smoking also can make treatment for gum disease less successful. Other risk factors include diabetes; hormonal changes in girls and women; diabetes; medications that lessen the flow of saliva; certain illnesses, such as AIDS, and their medications; and genetic susceptibility.

Though the majority of adults are affected by gingivitis, gingivitis fortunately does not always develop into periodontal disease. Progression of gum disease is influenced by a number of factors which include oral hygiene and genetic predisposition. One of the challenges for early detection of periodontal disease is its “silent” nature – the disease does not cause pain and can progress unnoticed. In its early stages, bleeding gums during tooth brushing may be the only sign. As the disease advances and the gums deteriorate, the bleeding may stop and there may be no further obvious sign until the teeth start to feel loose. In most cases, periodontal disease responds to treatment and although the destruction is largely irreversible its progression can be halted.

Periodontal disease can be prevented with daily meticulous removal of plaque by tooth brushing , regular visits to the dentist or hygienist at least once a year and avoidance of behavioural and environmental risk factors such as smoking, stress, poor diet. For more details, check www.gulfsideperio.com.