Periodontal Disease: Cause and Prevention

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periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and bone. Bleeding gums is one of the earliest signs that your gums are infected with bacteria. If nothing is done, the infection can spread. It can destroy the structures that support your teeth in your jawbone. Eventually, your teeth can become so loose that they have to be extracted.

Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures around the teeth.

In the earliest stage of periodontal disease, the infection affects the gums only (gingivitis). If left untreated, the disease will spread to the bone(periodontistis).

How long it takes will depend on the number of teeth that need treatment. Even if only one tooth is involved, crown lengthening typically includes neighboring teeth, too. That allows the tissues to be reshaped gradually.

Periodontal Disease


· Atherosclerosis and heart disease – Gum disease may increase the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease. Gum disease also is believed  to worsen existing heart disease.

· Stroke – Gum disease may increase the risk of the type of stroke that is caused by blocked arteries.

· Premature births – A woman who has gum disease during pregnancy may be more likely to deliver her baby too early. The infant may be more likely to be of low birth weight. One study showed that up to 18% of premature, low-birth-weight babies might be linked to the mother’s dum disease.

· Diabetes - diabetic patients with periodontal disease may have more trouble controlling their blood sugar that diabetic parients with healthy gums.

· Respiratory disease – Gum disease may cause lung infections and worsen existing lung conditions when bacteria from the mouth reach the lungs.



Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in the dental plaque. Plaque is the sticky substance that forms on your teeth. The plaque bacteria release toxins that can lead to swollen, bleeding gums, a sign of gingivtis ( the earliest stage of periodontal disease). Damage from periodontal disease also can cause teeth to become loose. This is a sign of severe periodontitis (the advanced stage of disease).

You can prevent periodontal disease by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly. Most people should see the dentist every three to six months. Your periodontal will recommend how often you should visit your hygienist.

Daily brushing and flossing, when done correctly, can help to remove most of the plaque from your teeth. Professional cleanings by your dentist or dental hygienist will keep plaque under control in places that are harder for a toothbrush or floss to reach.

If oral hygiene slips or you skip dental visits, plaque builds up on the teeth.

Eventually, the plaque spreads below the gum line. The bacteria are protected there because your tooth brush cannot reach them.

If plaque is not removed, the bacteria will continue to multiply. This will cause a more serious inection.

The buildup of plaque below the gumline causes the gum to become inflamed. As the gums swell, they detach from the tooth. This process forms a space, or “pocket”, between the tooth and gum, Bacteria can grow rapidly in the pockets. This encourages further plaque buildup.

Another reason to remove plaque promptly is to prevent it from becoming hardened or calcified tartar. Even more plaque attaches to calculus because it’s a rougher surface than the tooth surface.

Layers of calculus and plaque build up, in a downward spiral.

Using a tartar-control toothpaste may help slow the build-up of calculus around your teeth. However, it cannot affect the tartar that already has formed below the gum line.