What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal Disease (gum disease) is a painless low grade chronic infection caused by oral bacteria which adhere to your teeth and gums. When the infection only affects the gum tissue it is called GINGIVITIS.
If the bacteria are allowed to reach the areas below the gum line, they cause the gum to pull away from the tooth, and a space is created between the root of the tooth and gum. This space is called a periodontal pocket. The pocket gives bacteria a place to grow which is out of reach from your toothbrush and floss. As bacteria multiply within the pocket they cause destruction of the bone which surrounds your teeth. This infection is called PERIODONTITIS.
Periodontal Disease is a CHRONIC DISEASE. Unlike tooth decay, it cannot be cured or fixed, but it can in most cases be controlled. It is similar, in this regard, to other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. They all require professional monitoring, therapeutic treatment, and patient compliance to keep the disease under control (taking medicine, proper diet, efficient brushing, flossing and periodontal maintenance).
Factors that affect Periodontal Disease:
- A diet low in nutrients can diminish your bodies ability to fight infection.
- Tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease. Smokers have more severe periodontal disease, earlier in life and they are more difficult to control.
- If left uncontrolled, diabetes causes the body to be more prone to infection, and gum disease is usually more severe and difficult to control.
- Research has shown that some people may be genetically susceptible to gum disease.
- Stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infections including periodontal disease.
CLENCHING and GRINDING your teeth
- Clenching and grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting structures of the teeth and may speed up the rate of which periodontal tissues are destroyed.
Gum Disease Symptoms:
Gum disease is often silent. Symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease.
Warning signs of gum disease include the following:
- Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in the mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing or eating hard food
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures