Periodontal Disease

The mouth is a window into the health of the body. Keeping good care of your teeth and gums not only prevents cavities and bad breath, but reduces the risk of possible links to other diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke).

The mouth is filled with countless bacteria, which is linked to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease is inflammation caused by bacteria that is active in plaque. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that forms on the teeth and tissues in the mouth. Plaque that is not removed can irritate the gums, making them red, tender and likely to bleed. This condition is called gingivitis, and can lead to more serious types of periodontal disease.

Gingivitis is reversible if you remove plaque by having your teeth cleaned regularly by your hygienist and by brushing and flossing well every day.  If you do not take care of the gingivitis than  it can turn into periodontitis, a lasting infection in the gum pockets around the teeth. This can damage the attachment of the gums and bone to teeth. If your teeth comes to this stage, treatment by a dentist is needed. When you do not treat this disease properly, teeth may become loose, fall out, or require removal by the dentist.

If you experience any of these signs, see your dentist immediately:

  • gums that bleed during brushing and flossing
  • red, swollen or tender gums
  • gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • pus between your teeth and gums
  • loose or separating teeth
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • a change in the fit of partial dentures