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Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is the main cause for tooth loss in adults. This disease is caused by an accumulation of plaque and tartar around the periodontium, meaning the tissues surrounding and supporting teeth. These tissues include alveolar bone, periodontal ligaments, the cementum covering roots, as well the gums.

The accumulation of plaque and tartar encourages bacterial growth. The bacteria cause tissue inflammation and destruction. This is what we call periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of this process, when only the gums are affected by the inflammation.

When ginigivitis is left untreated, other periodontal tissues will be affected. A large quantity of plaque and tartar can cause the gums to detach from the roots of teeth. Bacteria can then slide into this space created. This space is refered to as periodontal pockets. Bacteria in these peridontal pockets destroy the bone that surrounds and supports teeth.This is what we then call periodontal disease. If bone loss is important, teeth can become mobile and even fall out.

How do I know if I am concerned by gum disease?

An estimated 75% of Canadian adults suffer from periodontal disease at different stages. To avoid this and it’s irreversible consequences on your teeth and mouth, it is important to recognize symptoms. You will then be able to discuss this with your dentist to avoid treatment delay and disease progression.

Periodontal disease symptoms include :

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing;

  • Red or swollen gums. Gums that can be painful when touching them;

  • Receding gums caused by bacterial growth that is destroying tissues supporting teeth;

  • Persistant bad breath caused by bacterial proliferation;

  • Pus in infected areas.

It is important to remember that very often periodontal diseases progress silently, showing no symptoms.

At a later stage, since gum disease causes bone loss, teeth can become mobile, migrate and move from their initial position.

Who is most at risk of periodontal disease?

Patients with poor oral hygiene are most at risk for developing periodontal disease. Brushing at least twice a day, flossing at least once a day, as well as visiting your dentist at least twice a year are recommended to prevent periodontal disease.

Lifestyle and habits that affect the immune system are also considered important risk factors for periodontitis. A weak immune system will be less able to help fight off bacterial proliferation in the mouth. People concerned by this are :

  • People who smoke or use tobacco;

  • People eating a diet poor in vitamins and minerals;

  • People with a medical conditions that weaken their immune system (cancer, diabetes, HIV, pregnancy, etc.).

Periodontitis treatment

Thanks to specialized tools, your dentist is able to evaluate the stage of the disease. In most cases thorough scaling and root planing, help to control and fight periodontitis. For more severe cases surgery might be necessary.

To avoid the severe effects periodontal disease can have on your oral and general health, come and see our Centre Dentaire du Nord’s team on a regular basis! We are able to to detect periodontitis at an early stage and provide you with the appropriate care.