The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone causing gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease and is characterized by red, swollen, and/ or bleeding gums. As the gums are continually irritated by plaque, they begin to separate from the teeth in order to isolate themselves from the irritant. As gingivitis progresses and the gums detach from the tooth, bone loss occurs. The onset of bone loss is considered periodontal disease. Bone loss is a serious condition that may result in tooth loss. With proper treatment periodontal disease may be arrested and possibly reversed.
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.
Not only is it the primary reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there is a strong link between periodontal disease and other diseases of the body such as, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk to the developing child during pregnancy. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease by decreasing blood flow to the oral tissues.
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: