Periodontal disease is a disease of the gums and bone which support the teeth. It affects, to one degree or another, a vast majority of the adult population in the United States. The beginning of the disease manifests itself as an inflammation of the gums known as gingivitis. If left untreated, the disease may progress to periodontitis, which in its early stages will effect the bone levels around existing teeth. As the disease progresses more and more bone is lost. In advanced periodontitis, tooth loss is the inevitable outcome. The disease process is due to a bacterial infection of the gums and the bone that supports the teeth.
The bacteria colonize in the gingival tissue. This bacterial colonization will lead to gingival inflammation, causing a pocket to form between the teeth and the gums. If these bacterial colonies are removed promptly, in the early stage of the disease process known as gingivitis, the effects of the disease are completely reversible. If these bacterial colonies are left untreated, however, the disease process will spread to the underlying bone and will begin to destroy it. As teeth lose their supporting bone, they will get loose and may eventually be lost..
While intraoral environmental factors play the major role in the development of periodontal disease, studies have shown familial tendency to develop the disease. The best way to prevent the disease, however, is through the use of easy preventative measures, which if adhered to, may in most cases prevent the onset of the disease process completely.
Here are some of the most common causes of gum disease:
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