What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an infection/inflammation of
the gum tissues. It is a persistent bacterial infection around the gums
and the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontal disease begins as a silent disease
that often causes no initial pain or uncomfortable symptoms, but instead
slowly causes a deterioration of the supporting tissues in the mouth.
Bacteria that are not properly removed from the teeth begin to
proliferate, turning into a hardened build-up of plaque on the teeth.
If the irritants (plaque, tartar, debris, etc) are not removed
the body's immune response will continue to create inflammation trying
to remove the irritants. The initial inflammatory respsonse from
the gums is called gingivitis. However, if the gingivitis is not
reversed, untreated gingivitis can worsen, and the gums may even begin
to detach from the teeth. The chronic inflammation of the gums
promotes the break down of the jaw bone, and this condition is known as
periodontitis. It can result in a loss of teeth and increased risk
of other health complications, such as heart attack or stroke. It
is estimated that about 47.2% of adults in the U.S. suffer from gum
disease - according to American Academy of Periodontology.
Daily oral hygienic habits, such
as brushing and flossing, are primary factors in determining whether
someone is at risk for developing gum disease. Other major factors
include nicotine use, uncontrolled diebetes, and the patient's bad
occlusion. Genetics do also play a big role. Routine dental care –
including frequent professional dental cleanings – goes a long way in
preventing periodontal disease.
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