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Everything You Need To Know About Periodontal Disease



Dealing with gum disease? You’re not alone. Many adults have some form of gum disease. It can cause swollen gums or give you bad breath. It can also ruin your smile or even make you lose your teeth if left untreated. Here's the good news: gum disease can be prevented with daily dental care.


The problem begins with bacteria. They combine with mucus and food particles to form plaque— a sticky, colorless film on our teeth. Brushing and flossing can get rid of some plaque. But any that remains can harden and form tartar, a hard yellowish deposit.

Plaque and tartar buildup, if not removed, can lead to gum disease—otherwise knows as periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the most common and mild type of gum disease. Identifying symptoms are red, swollen gums that bleed easily. Brushing and flossing your teeth daily, plus regular cleanings by dental professionals, can usually clear up gingivitis.

If untreated, it can become a more severe type of gum disease called periodontitis. Symptoms of periodontitis include:

  • bad breath that won’t go away

  • gums that are red

  • swollen, tender or bleeding gums

  • painful chewing

  • sensitive teeth

  • loose teeth


In periodontitis, the gums pull away from the teeth and form “pockets” that become infected. Bacterial toxins start to break down the bone and soft tissues that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the tissues will be destroyed and cause your teeth to become loose. If you have periodontitis, your dentist might perform deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing.

Majority of people start showing signs in their 30's or 40's. But it doesn't mean you will get gum disease when you get older. You can reduce your risk of gum disease by brushing and flossing daily and regularly visiting your dentist.

There are several factors that increase your risk of periodontal disease, such as smoking, hormonal changes in women, certain medications and some illnesses like diabetes, cancer and AIDS.


National Institute of Health continues to fund researchers related to preventing and treating gum problems. Some are exploring how stem cells might help to restore damaged tissues that support the teeth. Others are searching for genes and proteins which help bacteria grow and affect gum health. Moreover, it has been suggested that gum disease may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke or cause other health problems.

To this day, it hasn’t been confirmed that gum disease contributes to these conditions.

Many aspects of periodontal disease are still being investigated, although one thing is clear: controlling gum disease can save your teeth. That alone is an good reason to take care of your teeth and gums every day.

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