Periodontal Disease, also known as gum disease or pyorrhea, is a bacterial infection of the tissue surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a very serious disease that can result in tooth loss, but it is generally painless, so you might not know you even have it. The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque - the sticky, colorless biofilm that constantly forms on your teeth. This glycoprotein plaque traps bacteria that releases bacterial enzymes that cause your gums to become swollen and tender. The plaque builds up on the teeth, causing the gums to become red and sensitive. Brushing your teeth and chewing pushes bacteria into your bloodstream and enhances other pre-existing disease systems in the human body.
The early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis( swollen gums). Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis (pyorrhea) in which the gums separate from the teeth and gums, forming pockets resulting in loss of supporting bone that holds the teeth in your jaw. When the bacterial plaque enters into the pockets, the area becomes infected. Although there is not much pain associated with gum disease there are discomforts associated such as offensive bad breath, Gums that become infected and bleed, teeth become loose and possibly fall out or have to be removed.
Research in the last ten years demonstrates that bacterial infection from gum disease is associated with increased heart disease such as endocarditis, narrowing of the arteries, heart attack, increased blood pressure, kidney disease, pneumonia, pancreatic cancer, systemic inflammation and premature birth of children.
Richard B Waghalter, D.D.S Healthy Smiles of Houston 5959 West Loop South, Suite 640 Bellaire, TX 77401
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