Periodontal Disease

November 12, 2012

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is the inflammation of the gums that leads to weakening of the tissues which support the teeth including the gums, the periodontal ligaments, and the tooth sockets. Regular brushing and flossing may lower your risk significantly.


Periodontal disease is caused by plaque that has been deposited around your teeth over several years. The plaque is a sticky material made of bacteria, mucus, and food debris. It becomes hard after sometime and changes into tarter that gets trapped at the base of the tooth, and causes irritation and inflammation of gums. Gum injury, poor dental hygiene, pregnancy and diabetes can increase your risk of the disease. Hormonal changes during puberty mays also increase the risk of periodontal disease.


Common symptoms of the disease include bleeding gums that are tender to touch and bright-red in color, and mouth sores. Your gums may swell and become shiny as well.


Your dentist may perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and oral cavity to confirm the diagnosis of periodontal disease. Dental x-rays and dental bone measurements may be recommended in rare cases.

The goal of the treatment is to reduce inflammation. Your dentist may clean your teeth thoroughly, and teach you correct brushing and flossing techniques. Professional tooth cleaning once every six months, and regular use antibacterial mouth rinse may lead to the required benefits. Your dentist may also perform procedures to correct the misaligned teeth.

The symptoms start improving within one or two weeks. Good dental hygiene will prevent it from recurring.

Facts vs Myths

The American Academy of Periodontology states that almost 75 percent of adults over age 35 have a form of periodontal disease, which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Some of the common myths include:

  • Regular brushing removes the residual food between the teeth and gums. While this is true, brushing and flossing also prevent plaque formation. Unresolved plaque can irritate and inflame the gums after 26 hours.
  • Bleeding gums are normal. This is not true. Bleeding gums are a major sign of gum disease.
  • Oral health is not related to rest of the body. This again is not true. Microbes from bleeding gums may enter the bloodstream and cause systemic infections that affect the heart and the brain as well. Pregnant women with periodontal disease are at a greater risk of having pre-term babies.
  • Bad breath is caused by a lack of oral hygiene. This is true to some extent. However, good oral hygiene will not relieve the bad breath caused by sulfur-producing bacteria that reside on your tongue. It is important to brush your tongue as well to eliminate bad breath.
  • Cavities are the number one cause of tooth loss. True, cavities and periodontal disease are the leading causes of tooth loss.
  • Pregnant women should skip professional dental checkups. This is false. In fact, poor oral hygiene during pregnancy can affect the health of your newborn baby.
  • Stress does not cause problems in the mouth. This is not true. Recent research has revealed that
  • financial stress can increase the risk periodontal disease.


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