Periodontal Diseases: What you should know – adapted from American Dental Association
Periodontal disease is a chronic infection caused by bacteria. It begins when certain bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on the teeth and tissues in the mouth) produce toxins and enzymes that irritate the gums. This causes inflammation if plaque is not removed daily.
Plaque that remains on teeth can irritate the gums, making them red, tender and likely to bleed. This condition, called gingivitis, can lead to more serious types of periodontal disease. Gingivitis can be reversed and gums kept healthy by removing plaque every day with a good oral hygiene routine and by having your teeth professional cleaned.
But if gingivitis is allowed to persist, it can progress to periodontitis, a chronic infection in the pockets around the teeth. The resulting inflammation, which may be painless, can damage the attachment of the gums and bone to the teeth. At this stage, treatment by a dentist is needed. Left untreated, teeth may eventually become loose, fall out or require removal by a dentist.