More adults over the age of 35 lose their teeth to periodontal disease than tooth decay. Nearly 80% of American adults currently have some form of the disease.
Periodontal disease is an infection in the gum tissue that is caused by bacteria, which lives in plaque. Plaque is the sticky substance on your teeth that eventually leads to tooth decay.
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Gingivitis makes the gums red, swollen, and bleed when touched. The bacteria in plaque causes the infection. When left untreated, gingivitis develops into periodontal disease.
The infection destroys the bone tissue of your jaw. Teeth can become loose in their sockets and eventually fall out.
Periodontal disease is treatable. Treatment begins early with a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing three times a day, every day, will remove the plaque that is home to this harmful bacteria.
Depending on the severity of the infection and disease, surgery may be needed to repair the bone and gum tissue.
Gum disease is a threat to your oral health. Research is also pointing to possible health effects of periodontal diseases that go well beyond your mouth (more about this later). Whether it is stopped, slowed, or gets worse, depends a great deal on how well you care for your teeth and gums every day, from this point forward.
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