Periodontal Prevention: What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease or gum disease is the most common reason for tooth loss in adults. This inflammatory disease attacks the gums, bone and other supporting structure around the teeth. Plaque, a colourless film of bacteria mixes with sugar and starches to form acids and other by-products in the mouth irritating the gums, causing them to become red, tender and swollen. It also causes the gums to bleed easily.

If not removed daily it hardens to form calculus (tartar) around the neck of the tooth. Gum tissue around the tooth can be destroyed by irritants in plaque causing the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating large pockets. These pockets become filled with more plaque, and as it deepens it becomes impossible for you to clean the plaque out. Eventually, the bone structure supporting the tooth can be destroyed.

What are some other factors causing periodontal disease?

  1. physical and chemical irritants such as smoking, alcohol, impacted food, improper use of dental floss or toothpicks can irritate the gum tissue
  2. abnormal oral conditions such as misaligned teeth, poor fitting bridges, ill fitting partial dentures, defective fillings, teeth grinding, and ice chewing can cause problems
  3. poor diet and nutritional deficiencies
  4. hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy
  5. certain medications such as oral contraceptives, anti-epilepsy drugs, steroids and cancer therapy drugs may have a negative affect
  6. certain diseases such as diabetes, uremia, liver cirrhosis, anemia, and lukemia are some of the many diseases that can affect the health of your gums
  7. family history of gum disease