What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal Disease (also known as Gum Disease, pyorrhea or trench mouth) is a serious infection and left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the theeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth and gums) causes the gums to become inflamed.
Gingivitis – the beginning stage of periodontal disease
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care. This early stage of Periodontal Disease is like having a cut on your skin that has gotten infected. If the wound is allowed to ‘fester’ the infection could become worse and involve the underlying tissues and bone. To clean this infected area would be tender, but each day of cleaning would allow this infection to heal and the tissues to become healthy.
Gingivitis left untreated can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxin ‘poop’ produced by the bacteria in plaque irritates the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic (constant) inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming spaces between the teeth and gums that become infected. As the disease progresses, the spaces deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Many times this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
Periodontal Disease = Heart Disease?
Researchers have found that people with Periodontal Disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from heart disease and diabetes as those without periodontal disease. Several theories exist to explain the link between gum disease and heart disease. One theory is that oral bacteria can affect the heart when they enter the blood stream, attaching to fatty plaques in the heart blood vessels and contributing to clot formation. Blood clots can obstruct normal blood flow, restricting the amount of nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to function properly. This may lead to heart attacks.
Do you think you have Periodontal Disease? Call Dental Hygiene Fitness (formerly Dental Fitness and Spa), today and schedule for an oral evaluation. 970 – 214-8420