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An Overview of Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Posted Jul 01 2009 6:45pm

Periodontal disease, more commonly known as “Gum” disease, is the infection of the tissue that is in between and supports teeth. Periodontal diseases attack directly beneath the gum line, causing the supportive structures that keep the tooth in place to weaken. As the disease progresses, a pocket begins to form in the infected area between teeth. Periodontal disease is classified into two major stages of severity, gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the milder form of the disease, affecting only the gums and being reversible with treatment. If left untreated however, gingivitis will continue to progress into periodontitis, a very destructive form of the disease.

Increased risks for both types of periodontal disease are associated with:

*Tobacco smoking or chewing
*Systemic diseases such as diabetes
*Some types of medication such as steroids, some types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, *Some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
*Bridges that no longer fit properly
*Crooked teeth
*Fillings that have become defective
*Pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives

Signs that may indicate the presence of periodontal disease:

*Gums that bleed easily
*Red, swollen, tender gums
*Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
*Persistent bad breath or bad taste
*Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
*Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
*Any change in the fit of partial dentures

A healthy diet, good dental hygiene, and regular visits to dentists can help regress and prevent periodontal diseases.

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