Periodontal disease (often referred to as "gum disease") is a chronic inflammation of the gum tissue. Over time, periodontal disease can cause serious damage to the soft gum tissue, the bone structure beneath, and the ligaments that hold your teeth in place. In fact, gum disease is the number one cause of lost teeth in American adults.
The main culprit in gum disease is plaque, the sticky film that accumulates on your teeth between brushings. Plaque, which is a combination of saliva, food particles, and bacteria, builds up on your teeth, between your teeth, and beneath the gumline. Brushing and flossing at least twice a day is the best way to reduce plaque buildup. Twice yearly cleanings by a trained hygienist will remove any remaining plaque, along with tartar, which is caused by plaque calcifying. Once this occurs, the tartar (or calculus) can only be removed with professional instruments.
Indications that you have gum disease include:
- Red and swollen gums
- Bleeding when you brush or floss
- Gum recession
- Chronic bad breath
- A sensation that your teeth are loose or mobile
- Changes in your bite (the way your teeth fit together)
- Pus in the pockets between the teeth and gums
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please call right away to schedule an evaluation.