Periodontal disease is very common, in fact a study conducted by the CDC 2009-2010 that estimates that 47.2 percent, or 64.7 million American adults, have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis. That is one in every two adults.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque. Plaque is the sticky substance that forms on your teeth soon after you have brushed. In an effort to get rid of the bacteria, the cells of your immune system release substances that inflame and damage the gums, periodontal ligament or alveolar bone. This leads to swollen, bleeding gums, a sign of gingivitis (the earliest stage of periodontal disease). Damage from periodontal disease also can cause teeth to become loose. This is a sign of severe periodontitis (the advanced stage of disease).
As plaque collects around the gum-line and the gums swell they begin to separate from the tooth, forming "pockets" where more plaque can collect and bacteria can hide; out of reach of your tooth brush.
What Can I Do?
Beyond good home care,
Regular cleanings with a professional hygienist are important; if you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease your dentist and hygienist may advise you to have cleanings 3-4 times a year to be proactive with removing the plaque build-up, preventing the progression of the periodontitis and therefore preventing bone and tooth loss down the road.