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Periodontal disease, meaning “disease around the tooth,” attacks the gums and the bones that support the teeth. Regular dental visits, good oral hygiene, and a balanced diet can help reduce your risk of developing this disease.
What causes periodontal disease?
Tartar (calculus) is developed when plaque, a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva, is not removed. If plaque and tartar are not removed, your gums and bone will begin to deteriorate, creating periodontal disease – often characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.
Periodontal disease is the number one reason for tooth loss, although four out of five people don’t even realize they have this disease. The early stages of the disease are usually painless, which is why most people are not aware of any problems.
Research suggests that periodontal disease is linked to other diseases, such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. It is possible that inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease are affecting these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.