What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease refers to an infection occurring in the tissues that hold the teeth. As we all know our teeth is held by the gums otherwise called gingival. Further the root of the teeth is firmly placed in the socket with the support of fibers called periodontal ligaments. Surprisingly the teeth is not directly held firmly by the gums as it appears, there exists a V-shape gap which is shallow in nature called the sulcus between the gums and the teeth. Now this gap becomes a target for periodontal disease, causing the corresponding tooth to detach itself from the gums.

If periodontal disease affects only the gums it is called gingivitis and if it affects the tissues and the bone it is called periodontitis. Gingivitis is said to occur in the first place and if left untreated it could further give rise to periodontitis. Severe periodontal disease which is often seen in adults can even lead to fall of teeth. It may be noted that periodontal disease is the biggest threat to your oral health but can be treated to a large extent.

A severe and invasive form of gingivitis causing formation of a white membrane and soreness in the gums is called Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. Antibiotics, regular oral care including brushing and flossing can help to treat the above mentioned condition.

Some frequently asked questions about periodontal disease:

What causes periodontal disease?


Accumulation of bacteria on the surface of gums and teeth in dental terms is known as plaque. Regular brushing and flossing may not be successful in removing the plaque completely around the gum line. These bacteria generate toxins that in turn affect the tissues and gums causing periodontal disease. Plaque needs immediate attention if left unchecked it becomes a hard deposit called tartar. Its removal calls for professional cleaning by a dentist.  Tartar causes swelling and is infectious. Since its formation does not cause any pain its existence is not very noticeable.


In case of smokers they are said to have a low immune system with considerably lesser oxygen in the mouth compared to their counterparts. These two factors are largely responsible for the onset of periodontitis in smokers.


If blood sugar levels are not effectively controlled in diabetics, they become prone to infections and their slow healing ability leads to loss of tissue and bones. Subsequently it can lead to periodontal disease also.

Certain drugs:

Medications that use steroids and calcium blockers, drugs used to treat cancer, epilepsy etc. are known to decrease the saliva production, causing irritability in the mouth and make it vulnerable to infections one of them being periodontal disease.

Tooth Fillings that are worn out and use of unsafe oral contraceptive pills can also lead to periodontal disease.

How do I know if I have periodontal disease?

  • Constant bleeding of gums
  • The gums may look red, tender and may also swell up
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Loosening of permanent teeth
  • Any noticeable change in the teeth while biting indicate

If you experience the above conditions there could be a possibility of periodontal disease.

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  1. Healthy Gums and Gum Disease Treatments

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