Did you know that almost half of the U.S. population aged 30 years and older have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis (gum disease)?  According to new research from the Featured imageJournal of Dental Research in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) periodontitis is prominent.  Nearly two-thirds of adults over age 65 have moderate to severe forms of periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease?  It is an inflammatory disease characterized by loss of connective tissue between the teeth and gums.  It is the number-one cause of tooth loss in adults as bacteria growth in the mouth can destroy the tissue that surrounds your teeth.  Gingivitis (gum inflammation) usually precedes gum disease.  Bacteria in the plaque build up and cause the gums to become inflamed and to bleed easily during tooth brushing.  In the early stages of gingivitis, the gums may be irritated, but the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets.  If gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontal disease.  When this happens the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets.  These small spaces between the teeth and gums collect debris and can become infected.  Your body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows beneath the gum line.  As the disease progresses, gum tissue and bone are destroyed.  When this happens the teeth become loose and tooth loss occurs.

Although plaque is the primary cause of gum disease, other contributors include: hormonal changes, illnesses, medications, tobacco use, poor oral hygiene habits and family history of dental disease. Pay attention to the warning signs of gum disease and ask us about any questions that you may have.  The symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed during or after tooth brushing
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Formation of deep pockets between the teeth and gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down or in the fit of partial dentures

Periodontal disease is a condition that can be successfully treated and managed.  Remember to brush, floss and rinse your teeth.  Never share your toothbrush and replace it regularly.  Oral bacteria can be passed to others, which can spread bacteria and potentially lead to periodontal disease.

Dr. Terry Hunt
River Dental Arts
1690 Wright Ave
Rocky River, OH 44116
Phone: (440) 331-7380


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