Periodontal Disease or “Gum Disease”

Periodontal disease is an infected condition involving the gums and bone surrounding the teeth. The word “perio” means “support”. Hence indicating the condition affecting the hard and soft tissues “supporting the teeth”.

Gingivitis versus periodontal disease:

We all develop a layer of sticky white and yellow substance called “plaque” within minutes of tooth brushing. Throughout the day, this layer tends to get thicker. Routine tooth rushing and flossing keeps this layer to a minimum. When plaque is not removed routinely, a thicker layer called “calculus” starts developing around the teeth, which is harder and “rockier” in nature. Over time, this layer of calculus irritates the gum around the teeth which tends to cause bleeding on brushing – one of the first signs a person notices which usually prompts a visit to the dentist. This is called gingivitis – or “inflamed and bleeding gums”. A cleaning by your dental hygienist takes care of the plaque and calculus, which goes hand-in-hand with hygiene measures at home.

The biggest difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease is that – along with bleeding gums, there is associated loss of bone surrounding the teeth involved. There can also be mobility of the involved teeth. Unchecked periodontal disease leads to loss of teeth, bad breath and other health issues – most importantly affecting the heart. Gingivitis is essentially the first stage of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is quickly reversible with professional cleaning and at-home care. Periodontal disease on the other hand can be “stabilized” but lost bone does not grow back.

Periodontal disease has a strong correlation to heart disease. Especially in patients with underlying heart conditions. Bacteria from inflamed gums can cause stroke and infections within the heart and arteries. To maintain healthy periodontal tissues, it is essential to keep up with routine cleanings and examinations, as well as appropriate home care measures. Your dentists and dental hygienists at Advanced Dental Care may even recommend taking anti-microbial mouthwashes to help manage the periodontal condition better.