- Periodontal (gum) diseases are serious bacterial infections that destroy the gums and supporting bone around the teeth.
- Periodontitis is a silent destroyer because pain is typically absent. Sometimes the only way to detect periodontal disease is through a periodontal evaluation.
- This disease is affecting the overall health and damaging the teeth, gum, and jawbone of more than 80% of Americans by age 45
Periodontal diseases including Gingivitis and Periodontitis, left untreated can cause tooth loss, and affect your ability to eat, speak and smile.
Periodontal bacteria can also enter the blood stream, travel to major organs and have increasingly been associated with multiple overall health problems. Patients with active periodontal disease have been shown to be at higher risk for complications from Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke, Pregnancy, and even some cancers.
To provide you with a better understanding of periodontics, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to periodontics are discussed.
If you have plaque in your mouth you may have plaque in your arteries! Research shows that long term exposure to high levels of periodontal bacteria increases risk of blocked arteries.
What Causes It
Dental plaque is the primary cause of both gum disease and decay in genetically-susceptible people. Plaque is a sticky colorless “bio-film”, composed of different types of bacteria that adhere to your teeth at and below the gum line. It constantly forms on your teeth within minutes after cleaning. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance know as calculus (or tarter). This cannot be removed without professional cleaning.
Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons that irritate the gums and cause inflammation. Your gums may (but not always) turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing Periodontal Pockets (spaces) to form along the tooth. As periodontal diseases progress, the bacteria and toxins spread, the supporting gum tissue and bone that hold teeth in place deteriorate, the teeth are lost, and your body suffers.
Below are some very important warning signs & risks:
- Gums that bleed easily, especially during brushing or flossing
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Having a family member with periodontal disease. The bacteria that cause periodontal disease can pass through saliva. This means the common contact of saliva in families puts children and couples at risk for contracting the periodontal disease of another family member.
- Having heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease or osteoporosis. Ongoing research is showing that periodontal disease is linked to these conditions. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can travel into the blood stream and pose a threat to other parts of the body. Healthy gums leads to a healthier body.
- If you smoke or use tobacco, you are twice as likely to have periodontal disease and not know it. Smoking decreases blood flow to the gums.
- Poor nutrition, stress, pregnancy or puberty can bring on periodontal disease symptoms.
- Some medications, especially heart medications, increase your risk of periodontal disease.