About Periodontal Disease
Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and teeth. Though many times the infection is not particularly painful, it will lead to loss of the teeth and supporting bone structure.
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film containing bacteria that adheres to the teeth at and below the gum line. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque will harden into a rough, porous mineral substance known as tartar (or calculus). The bacteria in plaque and tartar induce an inflammatory response in the body. If left untreated, the inflammation turns chronic and has a negative effect on the mouth and body.
More and more studies have connected periodontal disease with multiple overall health problems. Patients with active periodontal disease have been shown to be at higher risk for complications from diabetes, heart disease, stroke, pregnancy, and some cancers.
Signs of gum disease can include:
- Red, inflamed gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Receding gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- Presence of pus between the gum and tooth
- Bad breath
- A change in the way the teeth fit together
Conditions that are linked to increased risk of gum disease include:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
- Smoking/tobacco use
- Poor nutrition
- Certain medications
Dental cleaning and prevention are both key in early detection of gum disease and tooth decay. A good home care routine as well as regular dental exams and cleanings may help you to avoid other expensive dental treatments in the future. Prevention begins with getting a control on plaque,
Periodontal disease is a chronic disease which must be continuously managed to prevent irreversible damage. The typical dental patient gets their teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months. Patients with active or previous periodontal problems get regular teeth cleanings every 3 months. Studies have shown strong correlations between a consistent 3 month periodontal maintenance program and keeping teeth healthy and functional long term.