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Periodontal Disease is more commonly referred to as gum disease. It can cause a broad spectrum of health issues for the mouth, but symptoms are usually related to inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth. If allowed to worsen, periodontal disease can become a serious problem that causes complete tooth loss. Proper care and maintenance of your gums is just as important as taking care of your teeth.
You probably already know that your mouth is full of bacteria. Most of this bacteria is harmless, but some of it ends up creating a thin film or plaque that covers the teeth and gums. If left on the teeth, this bacterial plaque can harden into tartar. And tartar is bad because it can only be removed by a professional dentist or dental hygienist. When plaque and tartar is left on the teeth, it can cause inflammation of the gums. This is referred to as “gingivitis”. Gingivitis is usually indicated by redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. Gingivitis is usually not severe and can be treated at home with regular brushing, flossing, and use of an anti-bacterial mouthwash. When gingivitis is left untreated, it can turn into periodontal disease. This happens when the gums begin to recede, the teeth appear to lengthen, and small gaps are formed between the teeth and gums. This can allow bacteria to get below the gum line which triggers the body’s immune system. While the immune system tries to defeat the bacteria, a side effect is that it ends up damaging the jaw bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place. If periodontal disease is not treated after a period of time, it can completely destroy the support structure of the teeth and may require them to be pulled.
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