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Did you know that 47.2% of adults in the U.S. over the age of 30 have some degree of periodontal disease? This common condition can impact your oral health and, in its advanced stages, may even put you at risk for serious medical complications. 

Let’s learn more about periodontal disease and what you can do to keep your mouth healthy. 

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease occurs when the gums become infected. Typically, periodontal disease is caused by poor oral hygiene, although pregnancy, obesity, certain medical conditions, medications, and even genetics can increase your risk of developing this disease. 

Bacteria that are naturally found in the mouth form plaque on the teeth. When plaque forms, it can be removed by brushing and flossing the teeth. However, plaque that is left behind can harden, forming tartar beneath the gum line. Tartar can only be removed with special tools by your dentist. 

The Stages of Periodontal Disease

Plaque and tartar can irritate the gums, causing the redness and irritation associated with periodontal disease. 

Gingivitis

The mildest type of gum disease is gingivitis, which occurs when the tissue around the base of the teeth, called gingiva, becomes inflamed. With dental treatment and at-home care, it’s possible to reverse gingivitis. 

Periodontitis

Periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease, and it occurs as a result of prolonged gum inflammation. Over time, pockets will form in between the teeth and the gums. Bacteria, plaque, and tartar can accumulate in these pockets, increasing your risk of tissue and bone loss. Advanced periodontitis can even lead to bone loss without immediate dental treatment, which typically involves scaling and root planning. 

The inflammation caused by periodontal disease over a long period can place a burden on your immune system. Ultimately, periodontitis can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. 

Preventing Periodontal Disease

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is through good dental hygiene. Brush your teeth twice per day, floss before going to bed, and visit your dentist twice per year for cleanings. 

To schedule a cleaning or periodontal treatment for gum disease, contact 19th Avenue Dental today!