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Periodontal Diseases

 
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The word periodontal means “around the tooth”.  Periodontal diseases attack the gums and the bone that support the teeth.  Plaque is a sticky biofilm 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.  Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.

Recent information suggests that more than 50% of American adults, over 100 million people  have moderate to advanced gum disease, but only 3% of those affected seek treatment.  Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless, even in the more advanced stages.

Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal diseases and other diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk for low weight preterm birth during pregnancy.  Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affect these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Effective control of bacterial plaque, education and  regular periodontal exams can help reduce your risk of damage from periodontal diseases.

 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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