Periodontal disease is an infection that damages the tissues and bone that support the teeth. Healthy gum tissue fits like a tight cuff around each tooth. When someone has periodontal disease, the gum tissue pulls away from the tooth because of bacterial irritation. Bacteria then progress further under the gum tissue, destroying the supporting jaw bone and damaging the roots of the teeth. Once the jaw bone is lost, it cannot be replaced. Over time, the teeth will loosen and need to be extracted.
Periodontal disease and whole-body health
Tooth loss is not the only problem caused by periodontal disease. There appears to be a link between periodontal disease and heart disease or stroke. High stress may also be linked to periodontal disease and researchers are currently studying the relationship between periodontal disease and other diseases of the body.
Warning signs of periodontal disease:
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss.
- Red, swollen or tender gums.
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth including receding gums.
- Bad breath that does not go away.
- Pus between the teeth and gums.
- Loose or separating teeth.
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.