Periodontitis, also commonly known as gum disease or periodontal disease, begins from bacterial growth in your mouth. Without proper treatment, it commonly results in tooth loss due to the destruction of the tissue that surrounds your teeth.
The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film 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.
Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.
Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, but research also suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk 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.
What's the Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?
Gingivitis or gum inflammation often precedes periodontitis (gum disease). Many people get gingivitis at some point. Gingivitis is a minor issue that you can prevent or even reverse by simply brushing and flossing, between regular dental cleanings and checkups.
When you don’t brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash often enough, a sticky film of bacteria and food called plaque builds up on and around your teeth. The plaque will release acids that attack your teeth’s enamel, causing tooth decay. After about 72 hours, plaque becomes tartar. Tartar forms along the gum line making it hard to effectively clean your teeth and gums Over time, the tartar buildup irritates and inflames your gums, causing gingivitis.
When someone is suffering from periodontitis, the inner layer of the gum, and even the bone separates from the teeth creating pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums easily collect food and debris and become infected.
Over time, as the disease progresses, the pockets in the gumline deepen destroying more tissue bone. Teeth become loose, resulting in tooth loss.
Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.
Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease: