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What is gum disease?

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a very common problem among the adult population. In severe cases, periodontal disease can cause tooth loss, and studies show that it is the primary cause of tooth loss among adults over the age of 40. Periodontal diseases affect the function and aesthetics of the mastication system. Treating periodontal diseases is the basis of all dental treatments, because when the disease is not under control, any other treatment is destined to fail. Most periodontal diseases are chronic states which are not accompanied by pain or discomfort, except in advanced cases. In recent years, a link has been identified between periodontal diseases and other systemic diseases such as diabetes and cardiac diseases.

In order to understand what periodontal disease is, one must first understand the characteristics of healthy gums.

The roots of the teeth are anchored in sockets in the jaw bones called alveoli. Between the root and the bone, there are fibers which connect between them. Above the bone is the soft, pink tissue called gingiva (gums). Between the gums and the roots of the teeth, there is a space called the gingival sulcus (pocket). Normal sulcular depth is up to 4 mm. All of the tissues surrounding the tooth constitute the support mechanism which holds the tooth.






Periodontal Disease – An Explanation

Periodontal disease is a disease affecting the tissues surrounding and supporting the tooth. The primary cause of the disease is a chronic bacterial infection. The main source of the bacterial infection is the dental plaque. This is a fine, thin, colorless film that is constantly produced on the teeth because of traces of food and bacteria. An additional source is calculus, which is essentially plaque which remained on the teeth for an extended period of time, was not cleaned properly and hardens. The bacterial infection, together with the inflammatory reaction of the body, lead to the destruction of the holding mechanism of the tooth and deepening of the gingival sulcus, until the extreme state of total loss of the tooth.

What are the signs of periodontal disease?

A. Redness and swelling
B. Bleeding when touched, for example while brushing
C. Bad breath (halitosis) from the mouth
D. Movement and recession of the gingiva
E. Creation of gaps between the teeth

In addition to the fact that periodontal disease is an infectious disease, there are additional factors which influence the appearance of periodontal disease:

A. Risk factors for periodontal diseases which can be controlled:

1. Factors enabling traces of food to accumulate, such as caries (cavities in the teeth), faulty crowns and fillings, etc.
2. Systemic diseases which can be controlled, such as diabetes
3. Situations of emotional pressure and stress
4. The use of medications which influence the gingiva
5. Smoking

B. Risk factors which cannot be controlled:

1. Genetics
2. Systemic diseases which cannot be controlled, such as osteoporosis
3. Pregnancy and hormonal changes


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