Conditions InDepth: Periodontal Disease
Periodontal is a word meaning “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease is a condition in which the tissue (gums, deeper supporting tissue, and bone) around a tooth or teeth become infected and inflamed. Periodontal disease includes both ]]>gingivitis]]> and periodontitis.
Periodontal disease is caused by an overgrowth of the bacteria that live naturally in the mouth. These bacteria are responsible for the sticky white substance that develops on teeth called plaque. When plaque stays on a tooth long enough, it hardens into a solid material called calculus or tartar. This material is much more difficult to remove from teeth than plaque. Over time, the presence of calculus causes gum inflammation or gingivitis. Gingivitis is a more mild form of periodontal disease, affecting the gums. It is almost always reversible with appropriate treatment.
If gingivitis is not halted through careful treatment, then the inflammation may spread below the gum line, affecting the deeper tissues and bone that surround and support the teeth. This condition is known as periodontitis. Untreated periodontitis can destroy the bone and other supporting tissues resulting in eventual tooth loss.
Many cases of periodontitis begin with gingivitis. However, it is possible for the deeper infection of periodontitis to begin without the more superficial gingivitis having been noticed.
Periodontal disease is a serious condition that needs to be thoroughly and carefully treated by your dentist. A variety of studies suggest the possibility of an association between periodontal disease and:
- An increased risk of ]]>heart disease]]>
- An increased risk of ]]>stroke]]>
- Problems controlling ]]>diabetes]]>
- Increased lung infections and ]]>bronchitis]]> , especially in susceptible people
- ]]>Premature]]> or early delivery of pregnant women with periodontal disease
- Low-birth weight babies of women with periodontal disease
The chance of developing periodontitis increases with age. Approximately 29% of people aged 30-53 have periodontitis, and 50% aged 55-90 have the condition. Unfortunately, studies also suggest that only 25% of people with periodontitis are aware of that they have the condition, and only 19% are actually receiving treatment.
]]>What are the risk factors for periodontal disease?]]>
]]>What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?]]>
]]>How is periodontal disease diagnosed?]]>
]]>What are the treatments for periodontal disease?]]>
]]>Are there screening tests for periodontal disease?]]>
]]>How can I reduce my risk of periodontal disease?]]>
]]>What questions should I ask my dentist?]]>
]]>Where can I get more information about periodontal disease?]]>
Albandar JM, Brunelle JA, Kingman A. Destructive periodontal disease in adults 30 years of age and older in the United States, 1988-1994. J Periodontol. 1999;70:13-29.
Gum disease: what you need to know. American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at: http://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease.htm. Updated May 2008. Accessed April 23, 2009.
Khader YS, Albashaiveh ZS, Alomari MA. Periodontal diseases and the risk of coronary heart and cerebrovascular diseases: a meta-analysis. J Periodontol. 2004;75:1046-1053.
Periodontal (gum) disease. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/GumDisease/. Updated December 2008. Accessed April 23, 2009.
Periodontal (gum) diseases. American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/public/topics/periodontal_diseases.asp. Updated March 2005. Accessed April 23, 2009.
Last reviewed April 2009 by ]]>Laura Morris-Olson, DMD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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