What is Periodontal Disease? | Mount Kisco, NY

Periodontal Disease or “gum disease” is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults!

The word “periodontal” means “around the tooth.” Periodontal Disease (also known as “gum disease”, is an ongoing bacterial infection in the gums and bone around your teeth. This infection leads to a situation where you have chronic inflammation.  If periodontal disease isn’t treated, the inflammation can destroy the bone around your teeth resulting in tooth loss. Periodontal infection is the cause of 75% of all adult tooth loss.

More importantly, research has associated periodontal infection to several serious medical problems, including; heart disease, diabetes breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, respiratory tract infections, and stroke. As ongoing research continues to define how periodontal disease is associated with these and other health problems, good oral health is essential. A healthy body and a healthy mouth go hand in hand.

How Does An “Ongoing Infection” Work?

The bacteria that cause gum disease or periodontal disease infect the gums and the bone that supports the teeth, and you end up with a situation where you have chronic inflammation.  Chronic inflammation has been linked to many serious and life threatening health issues.

What Can Cause a “Burst” of Infection Activity?

People with periodontal or gum disease have low resistance to the periodontal bacteria. This causes an ongoing gum infection that grows in “bursts” of activity. Each time it grows, more support for your teeth is lost.

Some factors that can cause a “burst” of activity are:

  1. Poor oral hygiene
  2. Dental Plaque
  3. Smoking
  4. Genetic Predisposition
  5. Smoking and Tobacco Use
  6. Stress
  7. Poor Diet
  8. Illness
  9. Age

The Importance of Getting Periodontal Infection Treated Right Away

At the first signs of infection (bleeding gums, tender gums, swollen gums, bad breath, pus draining from a pimple on the gum) call our office immediately.

Symptoms of Periodontal Infection

Periodontal infection is usually painless until it is quite advanced.  There are, however, some symptoms which can indicate the presence of periodontal infection.

These include:

  1. Red or swollen gums
  2. Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  3. Sore, tender, or “itchy” gums
  4. Receding Gums
  5. When pressing on the gums, pus forms between teeth
  6. A feeling that your bite is off
  7. Partial dentures that no longer fit right
  8. Loose Teeth
  9. Protruding teeth or spaces between teeth

If you notice any of the above warning signs of periodontal infection, please contact our office immediately for a periodontal examination.

Important Note: Your gums can look and feel quite normal and periodontal infection can still be present.  All adults over the age of 18 should have a complete periodontal examination once a year.  This is a quick and easy exam, and it could save your teeth and your life!

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