Inflammation of the gums and bones surrounding the teeth is called gum disease or periodontal disease.
Periodontal means “perio” around and “dontal” teeth. So, a periodontal disease pertains a disease in or to structures around the teeth.
The two more common periodontal disease are:
- Gingivitis: Inflammation of the gums around the teeth, the mildest form of gum disease
- Periodontitis: Inflammation of the bones and tissues of the teeth, a more severe form that can lead to tooth loss.
Gum disease has been shown to be related to a patient’s overall health, including:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
Plaque is the basis of periodontal disease. Bacteria attaches to the plaque on teeth. The body detects the presence of bacteria and begins to fight it. During this fight, the bacteria and the antibodies invade the soft tissues of the mouth. If this fight goes on for very long, pockets form in the soft tissues around the teeth. The pockets collect food and debris, causing more bacteria, causing more antibodies, causing more pockets to form. Eventually, a tooth can be lost.
Prevention of periodontal disease is really quite simple …. removing the plaque from your mouth. Diligent daily dental hygiene with brushing, flossing, and rinsing, as well as professional cleanings every six months.