Periodontal disease attacks the gums and bone that surround and support teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria and saliva.
If plaque is not removed it may mineralise to form calculus (also known as tartar) which adheres to the tooth surface.
The presence of both plaque and calculus can lead to irritation and inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and, in the advanced stages of the disease, bone (periodontitis). This can lead to sore, bleeding, red and puffy gums, loose teeth, spacing between teeth and persistently bad breath.
- The name given to inflammation of the gingival tissues (gums). It is the first stage of gum disease and is reversible with treatment.
- The name given to advanced gum disease which has progressed to involve the bone and ligament.
- Four out of five people have periodontal disease and are unaware as the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and increased risk during pregnancy. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.
- To reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease, good oral hygiene, a balanced diet and regular visits to the dentist are necessary.