What is Gum Disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease describes bacterial growth and toxins that gradually destroy tissue supporting the teeth. Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two main stages of gum disease. Gingivitis involves inflammation of the gums from plaque. It can be treated and reversed with professional cleanings, daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque accumulation.
Periodontitis is an actual infection of the tissues and bone that support the teeth. Deep gum pockets are formed that allow harmful bacteria to grow and cause inflammation and infection. Untreated, periodontal diseases may eventually lead to tooth loss.
Periodontal disease often starts in adolescence and can progress painlessly for years before becoming apparent. Bone tissue wears away from around the roots of teeth faster than the gum tissue can follow. Hard to clean gum pockets harbor millions of bacteria that destroy bone. As more bone support is lost around the roots, teeth become loose and the person’s breath often becomes foul.
Until their teeth become loose or actually fall out, most people are unaware that they have periodontal disease. Nevertheless, this is the number one reason that adults lose their teeth.
Recent medical research shows，87% of people who above 35 years old have some form of gum disease.，and has established a direct link between periodontal disease and systemic health, including increased risk of stroke, heart attack, diabetic complications, and serious pregnancy complications.
Once periodontal disease is diagnosed, it must be treated right away. The first step is usually a procedure called scaling and root planing. Tartar, bacteria and toxins are removed with an ultrasonic cleaner or scaler to promote healing of the gum tissue and shrink bacteria-filled pockets. For deeper pockets, a topical antibiotic may also be used to kill bacteria.