Why is it important?
The health of the tissues is important because they are necessary to support your
teeth – without them, your teeth would simply fall out. Periodontal disease
is very common – in fact it is the most common cause of tooth loss in people aged
over 35 years, and affects 75% of the population to some extent.
Side view of some Healthy Upper Teeth.
There is increasing evidence that Periodontal Disease can affect your general
health. For example it has been shown that if you have had a heart attack you are
more likely to experience another if your periodontal disease is uncontrolled.
Controlling periodontal disease may also make insulin control in diabetics easier.
Expectant mothers with severe periodontal disease are more likely to have premature /
We are only just starting to understand the effect the disease has on your system.
What causes it?
There are many factors which, together, cause the disease - bacteria being one of the
most important. The soft, sticky film of bacteria which constantly forms on your
teeth is called plaque. If not removed by careful cleaning it absorbs minerals from
your saliva and hardens. It is then called calculus (Or tartar). The calculus
provides a rough surface to which more plaque can attach. As more plaque and
calculus accumulate, the gums become inflamed and slowly detach from the teeth, leaving
deep pockets that become filled with bacteria and pus. You may get abscesses from
Moderate Periodontal Disease
Bone is lost around the teeth, and they
may start to become loose.
In its latest stages, the tissue fibres which fasten the teeth to the bone are
destroyed and the bone socket gradually disintegrates.
The teeth will gradually loosen and fall out, or require extraction.
Severe Periodontal Disease
Deep infected pockets,
and teeth lost.
How do I know?
Signs you may be suffering from the condition include bleeding gums, slight
“wobbliness” of individual or groups of teeth, persistent bad breath, or
occasionally a bad taste. The condition may well be detected by your dentist at a
routine check-up visit. Early signs of the disease will include a deepening of the
“pocket” between your teeth and gums, which your dentist will check for at
your routine check-up appointment.
What can we do about it?
Once bone and gum tissues are lost, they are lost forever. Treatment involves a
partnership between you and your dentist.
Your dentist will carry out careful cleaning of the pockets between
your teeth and gums, to encourage them to heal, and give you personal advice on the best
ways to continue this at home. You may also be recommended an anti-bacterial
mouthwash. The condition will be monitored, and your dentist will advise you of any
improvements or worsening.