What is Periodontal Disease?
The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.
Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. However, without immediate treatment during the early stages of gingivitis, the condition can quickly progress into more serious stages, causing extensive damage to a patient's smile and overall health.
The Long-Term Consequences of Gum Disease
Not only is gum disease the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that a link between periodontal disease and other diseases and health problems. These issues range from stroke and cardiovascular disease to bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, and high -isk pregnancy/premature birth for women. Current research also suggests a connection between gum disease bacteria and inflammation with the development and worsening of symptoms tied to systemic diseases.
Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease
Compared to other oral health conditions, periodontal disease is completely preventable with the adoption of good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits to your family dentist. However, certain risk factors including smoking and tobacco use, diabetes, stress, and poor oral hygiene can increase a patient's likelihood of developing gum disease. With these factors in mind, our Berkeley dentists strongly recommend that patients develop and maintain good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing daily) and regularly see our dentists every six months of cleanings and examinations.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact our Berkeley dentist immediately to schedule a cleaning and examination.
At James T. White, DDS, our goal is to help patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles through personalized dental care. If you believe you are developing gum disease, be sure to call and schedule your next visit to our dentists for treatment.