Periodontal diseases or gum diseases like gingivitis, or its more severe form—periodontitis— are very serious infections that require immediate treatment so as not to contribute to tooth loss. The term periodontal, in its literal sense, means ‘around the tooth’, which is why it is used to classify chronic bacterial infections that affect not only the gums that surround the teeth but also the bones supporting them.
Periodontal conditions can affect a single tooth or many teeth and they often begin as plaque bacteria infect the gums, causing inflammation. The mildest form of periodontal disease is gingivitis, where the gums become swollen, reddened, and prone to bleeding.
People with gingivitis experience little to no discomfort at all, and while gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment, its cause is also very much preventable, with proper and adequate oral hygiene. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis.
This condition involves plaque spread and bacterial growth below the gum line. The toxins from the bacteria that thrive in plaque further irritate the gums and stimulate chronic inflammation.
The body’s natural response to fight the constant inflammation causes the bone and the tissues that support the teeth to break down. The gums then separate from the teeth, resulting into pockets that accumulate more plaque, excess food, and bacteria, further infecting the gum.
These pockets can further dig in and deepen, destroying more gum tissue and bone. When the condition is left untreated, teeth become loose and eventually, may require extraction.
While plaque build-up due to poor oral hygiene is the main cause of periodontal diseases, there are many other factors that accelerate the process, such as smoking cigarettes or using tobacco, stress, and poor nutrition. Genetic predisposition also plays a part in the development of gum diseases, as well as other medical conditions like diabetes, along with natural processes like pregnancy and puberty. If you have any signs of gum disease please contact out office immediately.