Many individuals are unknowingly affected by gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease is the primary cause of loss of teeth for ages 35 and older. However, the devastating effects of periodontal disease are reversible, if caught in the early stages.
Gum disease is an inflammatory disease which attacks gums, bone and supporting structures of teeth. Often caused by plaque, this disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. Plaque, a colorless film of bacteria that forms on teeth and gums, interacts with sugars and starches to form acids in the mouth. This leads to irritation of the gums, causing them to become visibly red, tender and swollen. If not removed with daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens and turns into calculus around teeth.
Due to the irritants in plaque, tissues that attach gums to teeth are often affected. Gum disease causes soft tissue to detach from teeth, allowing small pockets to form amid teeth and gums. These pockets collect plaque, allowing infection to spread further beneath the gumline. As the pockets extend further, they become impossible to clean, leading to destruction of bone structure while compromising tooth stability.
Risk factors for gum disease include certain medical conditions such as diabetes, uremia, liver cirrhosis, anemia and leukemia. Pregnancy causes fluctuations of hormone levels which can result in the development of gingivitis. Medications including oral contraceptives, anti-epilepsy drugs, steroids and cancer therapy drugs may have negative effects on gum disease as well.
Some signs and symptoms of periodontal disease include bleeding while brushing and flossing, receding gums, tartar buildup, chronic bad breath or overly sensitive teeth. Contact our office to see how Dr. Markzar, Beverly Hills periodontist, can help properly treat and reverse the detrimental effects of gum disease.