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What You Should Know about Periodontitis

What You Should Know about Periodontitis

In its earliest stages, gum disease produces few symptoms. A person may not even know they have gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. But if this condition is not treated, it can progress into periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease.


Gingivitis is characterized by mild symptoms, such as red, tender or swollen gums that may bleed when brushing or flossing. As the disease progresses, symptoms increase. Once the disease reaches the periodontitis stage, infection leads to the destruction of soft tissue, and even the bone that supports the teeth. Eventually it may result in teeth falling out.


Periodontitis is more than an oral health problem. Long-term periodontitis increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Further, periodontitis in pregnancy can pose problems for an unborn child.


A number of factors increase your risk of developing gum disease and periodontitis. Smoking, diabetes, heredity, certain medications and even hormonal changes increase your risk of gum disease. Still, the most common factor in the development of gum disease is poor oral hygiene.



Maintaining good oral hygiene habits is the easiest and most effective way to prevent gum disease. At a minimum, do the following:


• Brush your teeth twice a day
• Floss daily
• Get a professional dental cleaning every six months.


If you are especially prone to gum disease, more frequent professional cleanings are often advised. Using an anti-bacterial mouth rinse daily is also helpful for those more susceptible to gum disease.


Healthy gums are firm and pale pink in color. Therefore, if you notice your gums becoming red, swollen or tender, or if they bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, you likely have gum disease and would benefit from a periodontal cleaning, which is more effective than a regular cleaning for removing tartar from below the gumline.

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