What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

What is periodontal (gum) disease? 

When your gums and the surrounding tissues are tender, bleeding or red or you have loose teeth or loosening gum tissue, it may be periodontal (gum) disease. A visit to the dentist is recommended because early detection and treatment of gum disease is the best way to potentially save you a lot time, money, and possible discomfort.

The way gum disease occurs is that over time, bacteria in the mouth can build up and inflame and infect the gum tissues—the inflammation is called gingivitis. That in turn causes damage because the gums, alveolar bone or periodontal ligament deteriorate, which means the tooth will no longer have the vital protection and structural support from your gums that it needs to stay healthy.

What causes gum disease? 

Plaque is the main culprit for gum disease and is made up of bacteria, minerals and food particles that form a colorless yet sticky film on the teeth. The pockets between the teeth and gums are a natural harbor for plaque to thrive and multiply. When plaque continues to grow and eventually harden, it appears as tartar on the teeth’s enamel as well as below the gum line.
Saliva and a dry mouth from certain medications can lead to an increased risk for gum disease. This is because the decay increases when the moisture from saliva is not present and able to spirit away the particles and sticky film. 

What can I do now to prevent gum disease? 

Regular flossing and brushing using a fluoride toothpaste removes the plaque before it can build up, as does professional dental cleaning. Consuming fewer sugary foods and drinks is also a good idea. Update your dentist about new medications and health conditions and set up regular checkups.

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