Periodontal disease is the infection of structures around the teeth, which include the gum and bone. Bacterial plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (gingivitis and periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). When this calculus starts to form under the gum line, the bone which holds your teeth in place, is compromised and you could see a loss of bone (periodontal disease).
Periodontal disease has been linked to several systemic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.