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What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria underneath the gum line. There are 3 stages to periodontal disease:

  • Gingivitis - the mildest form of periodontal disease; can be reversed with proper brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings.
  • Periodontitis - moderate periodontal disease; inflammation in the gums can cause surrounding bone to break down, causing pocketing in the tissue that makes it hard for you to manually keep clean; may lead to teeth feeling loose.
  • Advanced periodontitis - advanced disease; pockets deepen more and can cause abscesses around the teeth; in some cases, you may lose teeth to prevent the periodontal disease from spreading further.

Periodontal disease is mostly caused by hereditary, but also improper cleaning techniques can contribute to this disease. Age, stress, smoking and certain systemic conditions are also risk factors for causing excess bacterial growth in the mouth.

In the last 5 to 10 years, research has shown a strong mouth-body connection that links periodontal disease to certain diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and certain types of cancers. Technically, the mouth is the gateway to the entire body, so it is important to maintain proper oral health to achieve overall health.