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Periodontal disease is the inflammation or infection of the gum tissues. Often known as gum disease, the American Dental Association estimates that it afflicts nearly half of all adults over 30 years of age. It is primarily caused by hardened tartar at the gumline. However, habits like tobacco use and certain medical conditions can serve as increased risk factors.

The earliest form of gum disease is gingivitis. Telltale symptoms include red or inflamed gums that bleed easily during brushing and flossing. It also includes chronic bad breath.

In many cases, gingivitis can be treated by a dental checkup and cleaning. Once the hardened tartar has been removed, improvements to your daily oral hygiene routine can help clear up any lingering issues and keep gingivitis away from your smile. It’s important to treat gingivitis before it can develop into the most dangerous form of gum disease, which is known as periodontitis.

This serious infection in the gum tissues can cause your gums to recede from the base of your teeth. This enables pockets of infection to form deep within the gum tissues. In time, it can even cause the loss of structure in the bones that anchor your teeth.

The systemic inflammation associated with periodontal disease can also impact your immune system. Recent research has found that this can be related to other medical conditions including diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. You should note that while periodontal disease cannot cause these conditions, it can limit your treatment options.

If you are concerned that you might be developing periodontal disease, you should call 508.499.3566 to schedule an appointment.