Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the bone support of your natural teeth.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily and routine professional treatment.
Periodontal disease can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque, a sticky film that constantly forms on your teeth. Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.
If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease begins professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress. Continued periodontal maintenance to remove the calculus that a tooth brush cannot remove is important to maintain the bone level and keep the previous infection from affecting the gums.