Periodontal disease (gum disease)

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums, which gradually destroys the support for your natural teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bone loss, mobile teeth, and ultimately tooth loss. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.

Why is oral hygiene so important?

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques.

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 and if not removed, can begin to mineralize in as little as 24-48 hours to become hard calculus/tartar, which can only be removed with special instruments by the dentist or hygienist.  Thorough brushing and flossing on a daily basis can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease. 

Periodontal disease can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque.

Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition