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What is Periodontal Disease?*

Periodontal disease arises from infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. In its early stage, Gingivitis, gums can become swollen and red, and may bleed. In its more serious form, Periodontitis, gums can pull away from the tooth, bone can be lost, and teeth may loosen or even fall out.

A recent CDC report reveals the prevalence of periodontitis in the U.S.:
• 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease
• Periodontal Disease increases with age: 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease
• This condition is more common in current smokers (64.2%)

Causes of Periodontal Disease include:

Bacteria in the mouth infect tissue surrounding the tooth, causing inflammation and leading to periodontal disease. When bacteria remain on teeth long enough, they form a film called plaque, which eventually hardens to tartar, also called calculus. Tartar build-up can spread below the gum line, which makes the teeth harder to clean. Then, only a dental health professional can remove the tartar and stop the periodontal disease process.

Warning signs of Periodontal Disease include:
• Bad breath or bad taste that won’t go away
• Red or swollen gums
• Tender or bleeding gums
• Painful chewing
• Loose teeth
• Sensitive teeth
• Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
• Change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
• Change in the fit of partial dentures

Risk factors for periodontal disease include:
• Smoking
• Diabetes
• Poor oral hygiene
• Stress
• Heredity
• Crooked teeth
• Underlying immuno-deficiencies
• Defective fillings
• Medications that cause dry mouth
• Partial Dentures that no longer fit properly
• Female hormonal changes, such as with pregnancy or the use of oral contraceptives


Prevention & Treatment

Gingivitis can be controlled and treated with good oral hygiene and regular professional cleaning. More severe forms of periodontal disease can also be treated successfully but may require more extensive treatment. Such treatment might include deep cleaning of the tooth root surfaces below the gums, prescribed medications, and sometimes corrective surgery.

At Glazer Dental, we are dedicated to helping you prevent periodontal disease and treat early to moderate stage periodontitis in our office. We will also refer you to experienced and capable Periodontists for more serious cases.

To help prevent or control periodontal diseases, it is important to:
• Brush and floss every day to remove the bacteria that cause gum disease
• See a dentist at least twice a year for checkups

* This article features extracts from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention article on Periodontal Disease.