Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Why? Because it occurs at an age when cavities are usually a thing of the past, and the initial symptoms often go unnoticed.
Gums that bleed when brushing; red, swollen or tender gums; or persistent bad breath.
Periodontal or gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums, ligaments and bone that support the teeth and anchor them in the jaw. The bacteria, which act mainly on certain carbohydrates in our diets, are normal inhabitants of the mouth, living in a thin film called plaque. If plaque is not removed, it may eventually harden into tartar, a hard mineral shell that irritates and erodes healthy gum tissue. This early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis.
If left untreated, pockets begin to form between the teeth and gum tissues and may erode the tissue which attaches the tooth to the jaw. This stage is called periodontitis.
Gum disease can be treated at all stages, but more importantly, it can be prevented.
Brush twice a day, floss daily, eat a balanced diet, and visit your dentist regularly - ideally every six months - for a preventive checkup and professional cleaning which is essential in the prevention of gum disease.
Together you and your dentist can keep your teeth and gums healthy for life.