Periodontal or gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among Australian adults and is the most common disease in the world with 3 out of every 4 people unknowingly have some form of the gum disease.

Gum Disease is a transmissible, bacterial infection that can destroy the attachment fibres and supporting bone that holds teeth in your mouth.

It is caused by plaque, a colourless film of bacteria that forms on our teeth. A person’s reaction to the bacteria determines the severity of the resulting disease. Our ability to fight this infection can vary from day to day; week to week, depending on what else is going with our life and health.

Plaque is most harmful when these bacteria form into colonies, which takes about 24 hours. If not removed daily, plaque mixes with sugars and starches in the diet to form acids and other by-products in saliva. Plaque irritates the gums causing them to become red, tender and swollen. If not removed, the plaque hardens to form calculus (tartar) around the necks of the teeth.

Eventually, the tissue that attaches the gums to the teeth is destroyed by the irritants in the plaque, the gums pull away from the teeth and small pockets form between the teeth and gums. These products become filled with more plaque. Finally, the jawbone supporting the teeth is destroyed.

Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, but research suggests that there is a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy.

Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease