Periodontal disease (also called gum disease) is a chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and their surrounding tissues. The early stage of this disease is called gingivitis.
Bacterial plaque, a colorless film that is constantly forming on your teeth, is the main cause of periodontal disease. The bacteria living in this plaque release toxins which cause the fibers holding the gums to your teeth to break down. This causes periodontal pockets that fill up with additional bacteria and toxins. If the pockets extend deeper, they can destroy the bone that's keeping your tooth in place and make the tooth fall out.
Some factors that could increase your risk for getting this disease include: genetics, tobacco products, certain medicines, poor nutrition, stress and clenching or grinding your teeth.
If you have periodontal disease, your dentist will treat you by using techniques called scaling and root planing — removing plaque from your tooth and smoothing its root surfaces. These procedures, coupled with proper daily cleaning, will solve the dilemma if you catch the disease early enough. If you have a more advanced case, you may have to receive surgical treatment.
You can prevent gum disease by regularly visiting Dr. Tinkle, getting your teeth professionally cleaned and brushing and flossing at home.
If you have gum disease, the best thing you can do is visit Dr. Tinkle every three to four months so you can receive expert care and guidance as you heal. Flossing and brushing at least twice each day will drastically benefit you as you help your mouth become healthy again.