Periodontal disease and tooth loss

Periodontal disease and tooth loss


Periodontal disease is the umbrella name we give to gum diseases that may be non-threatening (gingivitis) or serious enough to require surgery (periodontitis).


When you aren’t brushing your teeth or flossing regularly, this can lead to plaque build-up. Bacteria can accumulate in this sticky film, your gums may become inflamed or spongy and they may bleed when you brush your teeth. You may have halitosis (or bad breath).

Gingivitis is treatable; at this stage of the disease, you shouldn’t see major damage. All your teeth will be secure and you probably don’t have any loss of bone in your jaw.

However, if you don’t get gingivitis treated or change your brushing habits, it can lead to periodontitis.


Plaque, over time, hardens to form what we call tartar or calculus. Pockets form between your gums and teeth. If this has happened to you, you know what happens next. Food scraps collect in the pockets and they’re quite hard to dislodge.

The plaque can spread to below the gum line and as your body tries to fight the bacteria, you start to see bone loss and breakdown of tissue that holds your teeth firm. You’ll feel that your teeth are wobbly. At this point, you’re very likely to lose one or more of your teeth permanently.


As we mentioned earlier, the main cause is build-up of plaque. However, there are other factors that can precipitate gingivitis or periodontitis. These range from hormonal changes in pregnancy (or other life markers such as puberty and menopause) to illnesses such as diabetes. Smoking, because of the toxins ingested, impedes your gums’ self-repair ability.

You could simply be unlucky and be born into a family with a history of dental ailments, or not had adequate calcium and fluoride in your formative years.

Whatever the reason, if you notice any symptoms, it’s important to get gum disease treated as soon as possible.

It’s also important to up your game when it comes to brushing and flossing.


Last but not least, you have a far better chance of catching gum disease early if you visit your dentist or dental hygienist regularly.

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