Periodontal disease is an ongoing inflammation caused by bacteria that live in plaque (rhymes with “back”). Plaque is the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on the teeth and tissues in the mouth. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that irritate the gums. Plaque that remains on teeth can irritate the gums, making them red, tender and likely to bleed. This condition is called gingivitis (jin-ja-VY-tis), and it can lead to more serious types of periodontal disease.
Gingivitis can be reversed if you remove plaque by having your teeth cleaned regularly in the dental office and by brushing and flossing well every day.
If you do not get rid of gingivitis, it can turn into periodontitis (perry-o-don-TIE-tis), a lasting infection in the gum pockets and around the teeth. The inflammation caused by periodontitis is not always painful, but it can damage the attachment of the gums and bone to the teeth. At this stage, treatment by a dentist is needed. If the disease is not treated, teeth may become loose or fall out or require removal by a dentist.
If you notice any of these signs, contact us today:
Gums that bleed during brushing and flossing
Red, swollen or tender gums
Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
Bad breath that doesn’t go away
Pus between your theeth and gums
Loose or separating teeth
A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite