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What is Periodontal Disease?


Posted on 8/20/2017 by Kathryn Admin
Periodontal disease is an ongoing infection of the gums that gradually destroys the bony support of your natural teeth. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically-susceptible individuals. Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons that irritate and inflame the gums. This may cause the tissue to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this inflammation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth causing periodontal pockets (spaces) to form around your teeth. Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This can develop both above and below the gum line. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and the bone that holds teeth in place deteriorates. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. It is also important to realize that not all forms of periodontal disease leads to bleeding, redness, and swelling of the soft tissue. Further, pain is usually not associated with periodontal disease. This disease produces damage to the teeth, gum tissue, and jawbone of more than 80% of Americans by age 45.

What causes it?

Periodontal Diseases as well as tooth decay are both caused by a Bacterial Plaque film, called a biofilm. This plaque film is a sticky colorless film in its earliest stages, composed primarily of various types of bacteria, which adhere to your teeth at and below the gum line. The biofilm is constantly growing and is a part of “Mother Nature’s” protection for our mouths. This germ film is constantly coating all tissues in our mouths including our teeth and gums. It begins to form within minutes after cleaning, but generally takes at least 24 hours to completely reform. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This cannot be removed without professional cleaning. This Bacterial plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums and trigger an inflammatory response, which leads to redness and swelling of the soft tissues. This frequently leads to spontaneous bleeding if the tissues are disturbed. If this irritation and resulting inflammatory response is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing Periodontal Pockets to form along the tooth. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate, the teeth start to become loose and if left untreated can lead to tooth loss. The inflammatory burden produced by a long-standing periodontitis clearly represents a health risk to the entire body. The inflammation produced by this disease has been shown to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

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