Peridontitis is a serious gum infection, causing irreversible damage to the gum and bone, which can eventually jeopardize the health of your teeth, as well as your systemic health. In the United States, over 47% of individuals, age 30 and older, have some form of periodontal disease. This incidence only increases with age, as 70% of adults 65 years and older battle this disease. Risk factors for periodontitis include smoking, diabetes, poor oral hygiene, stress, hereditary, crooked teeth, medications that cause dry mouth, and female hormonal changes, such as with pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives.
When bacteria begin to accumulate in the mouth, it forms a film known as plaque. If the plaque is not adequately removed, it then hardens and forms tartar, or calculus. The calculus causes the surrounding gum tissue to become infected. Only a dental professional, your hygienist, can remove this hardened material through the use of proper instruments in order to stop this disease process. Healthy gums are typically pink in color. Some symptoms of periodontitis can include red and swollen gums, bleeding gums, gums that recede from the teeth, loose teeth, and bad breath. Although in some cases, the infection may be deep below the surface. In these cases, the gums may appear to have few external symptoms.
Regardless, if left untreated, periodontitis can lead to significant gum recession and bone loss, which can then cause tooth loss. It can cause major health problems, including increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just to name a few.
Periodontitis is a serious disease, however, its effects can be arrested if proper treatment is sought. Once your dental team has restored your mouth to a healthy state, further complications can be avoided with regular dental visits, cleanings with your hygienist, and proper homecare.