Periodontal (Gum) Disease is a progressive disease that is also associated with bacteria. Bacteria sticks to your teeth and is only removed when you mechanically brush or floss it off. When bacteria stick to your teeth it creates a film dentists call plaque. Over time this plaque calcifies and becomes very hard. This “calculus” can be above and below the gum line and is impossible to remove using a toothbrush. This is the stuff that hygienists scrape off your teeth when you get a cleaning. Since it is made of bacteria this irritates the gum tissue and it swells. This is the body’s way of trying to get rid of the problem.
Like most injuries, your body rushes blood to an area to try and repair an injury. In this case, however, your swollen gums just become larger and make it easier for the bacteria to hide underneath the gum line. Over time, the bone that holds your teeth realizes how unhealthy this is. Because the bone does not like being in this diseased area your body breaks it down and uses it somewhere else in your body. It can use the calcium anywhere it is needed and will not repair the bone that has dissolved away from your tooth. Eventually, if this disease process goes unchecked the tooth will become loose, and eventually have to be removed.
This periodontal disease is responsible for most of the tooth loss in the world. Here in America we can fix almost any decay or fracture of teeth, but it is impossible to repair bone loss unless the disease process is eradicated. Unfortunately, that takes a daily, lifelong commitment to removing plaque from your teeth. Even skipping your daily hygiene once allows the plaque to stick to your teeth and start the whole negative process again. There are now antimicrobial agents that help patients fight inflammation and kill the bacteria that cause gum disease. It is important to note that these are just