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: