Periodontal (gum) disease

What is gum disease

Symptoms may include bleeding and swollen gums that may have infection (gum abscesses), bad breath/taste, gaps between teeth, recession (shrinkage) of the gums and ultimately teeth may be loose. However many people are unaware that they have gum disease because it is usually painless. If left untreated, periodontitis may eventually result in tooth loss.

Why

An inflammatory condition, caused by bacteria in dental plaque. If plaque is not removed adequately it can form calculus (calcified plaque) which cannot be removed by a tooth brush. A person must also be susceptible to periodontal disease. Certain risk factors may make the severity of disease worse.

How

Specific bacteria (pathogens) may cause direct destruction to periodontal tissues or induce an inflammatory response that is destructive. Loss of attachment occurs with pocket formation; a gap between the tooth and gum, and bone loss, which may eventually result in mobility followed by tooth loss. If deep pocketing is left, bacteria are able to grow there which may lead to disease progression, further bone loss and tooth loss.

Risk factors

Cigarette smoking, certain systemic conditions (i.e. diabetes), genetic tendency etc. Periodontal tissues can be affected during pregnancy or during stress. Smoking cigarettes increases the severity of gum disease and will negatively affect the treatment outcome. We advise giving up smoking. Although the progression of disease is lessened with treatment, if you continue to smoke you will constantly have a risk of progression of disease and may lose teeth in the future. Research shows associations between gum disease and many diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, showing that existing gum disease can affect the health of your entire body. For more information view http://www.perionz.org

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