What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection caused by bacteria. In about a day’s time, mouth bacteria multiply and form a sticky, almost invisible, film on the teeth called plaque. Plaque that is not removed by regular brushing and flossing can harden into calculus (tartar). In some cases, the plaque and calculus cause the gums to become red and inflamed and may bleed on brushing. This condition is called gingivitis.
Over time, toxins (poisons) in plaque can cause the tooth supporting tissue and bone to be destroyed (bone loss), forming a hidden pocket between the tooth and the gum. Your dentist and hygienist will use a periodontal probe to measure the depth of this hidden pocket. The depth of this hidden pocket, termed "pocket depth," is the main indicator for the presence of periodontal disease.
There are few, if any, early warning signs, but as the disease progresses, the signs and symptoms become more obvious.
- Red swollen gums that may bleed easily
- Persistent bad breath
- Tall looking teeth (Recession)
- Loose teeth (Mobility)