The word ‘periodontal’ means ‘around the tooth’. Periodontal disease attacks the supporting gums and bone around the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food particles, bacteria and saliva that, when not removed, turns into calculus (tartar). If plaque and calculus are not quickly dealt with, they will start to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by inflamed and bleeding gums.
4 out of 5 people have periodontal disease and don’t know it!Most people don’t realise because the disease is painless in its preliminary stages.
Periodontal disease is the number 1 reason for tooth loss.Research suggests there may also be connections between periodontal disease and other diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and increased risk during pregnancy. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.
Maintaining good oral hygiene, a balanced diet and regular dental visits helps reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.
Not sure if you have periodontal disease? Look for these symptoms:
- Bleeding gums – Gums should not bleed under any circumstances, even with vigorous brushing and flossing.
- Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers supporting the tooth to the bone).
- New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
- Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
- Pus around the teeth and gums – Indication of an infection.
- Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.
- Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
- Tenderness or discomfort – Plaque, calculus and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.