Periodontal Disease

The word periodontal means "around the tooth".  Periodontal disease is marked by the breakdown of structures that surround, secure, and support the teeth. These structures include the jawbones, gums, and fibers which anchor the teeth to the gums. Periodontal disease is usually a result of untreated plaque buildup, and is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults.

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don't know it!  Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.

Research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy.  Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects these systemic diseases and conditions.  Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding gums: Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss
  • Loose teeth: Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone)
  • New spacing between teeth: Caused by bone loss
  • Persistent bad breath: Caused by bacteria in the mouth
  • Pus around the teeth and gums: Sign that there is an infection present
  • Receding gums: Loss of gum around a tooth
  • Red and puffy gums: Gums should never be red or swollen
  • Tenderness or Discomfort: Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth

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