What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection of the structures around the teeth. This includes gums and surrounding tissues of the tooth. The earliest stage of the disease is gingivitis and this affects only the gums, but the more severe cases affect all the supporting tissues.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

For many years, the cause was unknown, but doctors now know that the bacteria in plaque are the cause of periodontal disease. This is why proper brushing, flossing and regular dental check ups are so important.

There are certain factors that can increase your chances of periodontal disease, including genes, smoking, stress, poor nutrition, fluctuating hormones, certain medications and diseases. If you currently have braces or anything that can make flossing and brushing teeth more difficult, it’s especially important to take notice because your chances of plaque build up increase.
Recently, gum diseases have been linked other health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and respiratory diseases. More research is needed to figure out the exact connection.

Other Risks of Periodontal Disease

If too much plaque gets built up, the gums can become inflamed and start to detach from the tooth, which can create even more plaque build up in the little pockets forming as the tooth detaches. This disease can also lead to damage in the structures that support the teeth.

Prevention of Periodontal Disease

Flossing and brushing daily, especially when done correctly, will help remove most of the plaque from teeth. Using a toothpaste that has tartar control may help control the buildup of hardened plaque.

It’s important to have regular professional cleanings by a dentist or dental hygienist, as they will also help remove plaque in harder to reach places. If you are regularly visiting your dentist, then it can be caught early enough and treatment of periodontal disease can begin so it does not lead to other complications.