Periodontal (gum) Disease is an infection that destroys the tissue surrounding and supporting the teeth. Approximately 50% of people over 30 years of age have the disease. Periodontal infections are the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Often, this disease can be present and cause severe damage without the slightest discomfort. A person can lose all of their teeth to periodontal disease and not have any tooth decay!
Periodontal disease begins as gingivitis, gum inflammation (redness and bleeding) that has not yet advanced around the base of the tooth to the level of supportive bone. It can progress silently with growing colonies of toxin-producing bacteria known as plaque. Our own body then tries to rid the gums of the bacteria and causes destruction of the gums and bone.
Professional treatment, non-surgical, surgical, or a combination is often necessary to remove the afflicted tissue and toxic by products. Without this intervention, the surrounding gums and bone gets destroyed which can result in loose teeth.
Numerous studies have found a direct relationship between periodontal disease and other serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease, stomach ulcers, and pre-term, low-birth-weight babies.
Genetic makeup, smoking, stress, hormone changes, and various prescription medicines also put people at risk for periodontal disease.
Early detection and appropriate treatment is the key to halting the disease progression. Controlling the disease requires a long-term commitment from the patient as well as an educated, daily hygiene regimen.