Periodontal disease (sometimes called gum disease or periodontitis) is an infection affecting the bone and tissues surrounding your teeth, and if left untreated can lead to tooth and bone loss. Healthy gums are “tight” and pink in color, whereas infected gums turn red and inflamed, and can sometimes cause your infected teeth to become loose. There are two major types of gum disease:
Gingivitis - Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. The disease is caused when bacteria (found in plaque) produces toxins and enzymes that irritate the gums; thus, causing infection and inflammation. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage and usually people can have gum disease without even knowing it. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Periodontists – Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins then stimulate a “chronic inflammatory response” in which the body starts to attack itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
What are some preventative measures I can take?
Brush with a fluoride toothpaste
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush after each meal
Floss daily before bedtime
Use an oral rinse after flossing
Avoid sugary foods, coffee, and tobacco