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GUM DISEASE

Periodontal (gum) disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth.

GINGIVITIS is the mildest form of periodontal (gum) disease. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene, which leads to plaque buildup. The bacteria in dental plaque irritate the gums and cause inflammation.  People with gingivitis usually experience little or no discomfort.

Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral care.

However, if gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to PERIODONTITIS. Over time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line, producing toxins that irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and begins to attack the gum attachment and bone. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and permit the destruction of more gum until teeth become loose and need to be removed.

Over the past 10 years, numerous scientific studies have shown that the bacteria that causes gum disease can lead to an increased risk of serious health problems.

Periodontal bacteria can enter the blood stream and travel to major organs and begin new infections. Research is suggesting that this may:

Warning signs which may indicate the presence of periodontal disease include:

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