What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a common infection that damages the soft tissue and bone supporting the tooth.
Without treatment, the alveolar bone around the teeth is slowly and progressively lost.
The name “periodontitis” means “means inflammation around the tooth.” Microorganisms, such as bacteria, stick to the surface of the tooth and in the pockets surrounding the tooth, and they multiply.
As the immune system reacts and toxins are released, inflammation occurs.
Untreated periodontitis will eventually result in tooth loss. It may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other health problems.
Bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless membrane that develops over the surface of teeth, is the most common cause of periodontal disease. If plaque it not removed, it can harden to form tartar, or calculus.
Most cases of periodontitis are preventable through good dental hygiene.
Fast facts on periodontitis
- Periodontitis, or gum disease, affects the area around the tooth, including the bone and the gum.
- It happens when bacteria and plaque buildup around the tooth, and the immune system launches a reaction.
- Good oral hygiene is part of both treatment and prevention, but sometimes surgery is necessary too.
- Smoking increases the risk of gum disease and of treatment not working.
- There appears to be a link between gum disease and conditions elsewhere in the body, such as heart disease.
The main aim of treatment is to clean out bacteria from the pockets around the teeth and prevent further destruction of bone and tissue.
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