Periodontal Disease

What is Periodontal Disease or Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease, also generally called gum disease, begins with bacterial growth in your mouth and if not properly treated may result in tooth loss due to destruction of the tissue that surrounds and supports your teeth.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. However, other factors can contribute to periodontal disease. These include: Hormonal changes, Illnesses such as diabetes, medications can affect oral health, bad habits such as smoking, Poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing and flossing on a daily basis and family history of dental disease can be a contributing factor for the development periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is divided into two categories: gingivitis and periodontitis. While gingivitis, the less serious of the diseases, if left untreated, it may progress into periodontitis.


Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease caused by the buildup of plaque, a naturally occurring biofilm containing bacteria, on the tissues that surround the teeth. This swelling is often caused by the buildup of plaque. Gingivitis is often painless. Some symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, and bleeding gums in addition to bad breath. When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis.


In a person with periodontitis, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums collect debris and can become infected.

If gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorates. The progressive loss of this bone, the alveolar, can lead to loosening and subsequent loss of teeth. Periodontitis is affected by bacteria that adhere to the tooth’s surface, along with an overly aggressive immune response to these bacteria.

Periodontal disease is dangerous in that it is often painless and symptomless. It is important to maintain proper home oral care and regular dentist visits to reduce the risk of obtaining this disease.