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.
The bacteria associated with active periodontal infection can be forced into the bloodstreams with brushing, flossing and even when eating. The risk of a bacteremia increases with the severity of your condition. The bacteria can travel to major organs to begin new infection.
Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, research 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 affects these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.
Given the link between the bacteria that causes gum disease and physical diseases, treatment and prevention of periodontal disease is an important step in maintaining overall health. If needed, we will communicate with your physician to help you protect both your dental heath and your overall health.
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: