Periodontal Disease

Periodontitis

What is it?

Periodontal disease, or Periodontitis, is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis can cause teeth to loosen or lead to tooth loss. Periodontitis is common but largely preventable. It’s usually the result of poor oral hygiene.

How Can You Prevent It?

Brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental checkups can greatly improve your chances of successful treatment for periodontitis and can also reduce your chance of developing it. Chronic periodontitis is the most common type, affecting mostly adults, though children can be affected, too. This type is caused by plaque buildup and involves slow deterioration that may improve and get worse over time but causes destruction in the gums and bone and loss of teeth if not treated. Aggressive periodontitis usually begins in childhood or early adulthood and affects only a small number of people. It tends to affect families and causes rapid progression of bone and tooth loss if untreated.

Plaque & Tartar

What is it?

Plaque forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria normally found in your mouth. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day removes plaque, but plaque re-forms quickly. Plaque can harden under your gumline into tartar if it stays on your teeth. Tartar is more difficult to remove, and it’s filled with bacteria. The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more damage they can do. You can’t get rid of tartar by brushing and flossing.

Gingivitis

Plaque can also cause gingivitis, the mildest form of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is irritation and inflammation of the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. Gingivitis can also be reversed with professional treatment and good home oral care. Ongoing gum inflammation can cause periodontitis, eventually causing pockets to develop between your gums and teeth that fill with plaque, tartar, and bacteria.

In time, these pockets become deeper, filling with more bacteria. If not treated, these deep infections cause a loss of tissue and bone, and ultimately you may lose one or more teeth. Also, ongoing chronic inflammation can put a strain on your immune system.

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