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Periodontal Disease is an infection of the gums which destroys bone that hold your teeth in place. Most patients have no idea they have Periodontal Disease until it is too late or their dentist tells them they have gum disease. If not treated, it often gets worse. Regular self-care and dental visits can help prevent or control periodontal disease.

Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. The gums become irritated and swollen (inflamed). The space between the gum and tooth gets deeper, forming a pocket. Gums may become red and may bleed or there may be no symptoms. Left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis.

Periodontitis occurs when infection and inflammation spread to the bone supporting the teeth. Gums may recede (shrink back) from the teeth. Pockets between the teeth can get deeper and are more difficult to clean. Redness, swelling, and bleeding may develop or get worse. Infection begins to destroy the bone. As bone is destroyed, teeth may start to feel loose.

Advanced Periodontitis: As periodontitis advances, pockets deepen even more. Bone loss continues. The teeth may feel sensitive to hot or cold and may hurt when brushed. Teeth loosen more. In some cases, teeth may need to be removed to keep the disease from spreading.

For more information, please visit the American Academy of Periodontology Website or the American Dental Association Website.

Possible Signs of Periodontal Disease

  • Red, swollen or tender gums, or other pain in your mouth
  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

Periodontal Disease Risk Factors Include:

  • Age (usually more common in older people)
  • Smoking/Tobacco Use (tobacco use is linked to many serious illnesses)
  • Genetics (some people are more genetically susceptible)
  • Stress (higher stress levels are linked to many serious conditions)
  • Medications (some drugs can affect your oral health)
  • Clenching/Grinding Teeth
  • Other systemic diseases include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Poor Nutrition and Obesity (bodies low in nutrients compromise the immune system making it harder to fight infection)

Periodontal Disease and Your Overall Health
Emerging research links periodontal disease to other health problems including: heart and respiratory diseases, preterm or low birth weight babies, stroke, osteoporosis, and diabetes. Please visit Perio.org for more information about the Mouth-Body Connection.

Useful Links For More Information

What You Need to Know About Periodontal Health

Treating Periodontal Disease

American Dental Association

American Academy of Periodontology (AAP)