Periodontal Disease – What Causes It

Periodontal diseases are ongoing infections of the gums that gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically-susceptible individuals. Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons that irritate the gums.  They may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth causing pockets (spaces) to form. Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This can occur both above and below the gum line. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. However, don’t be fooled. With periodontal disease, bleeding, redness, and swelling do not have to be present. Further, pain is usually not associated with periodontal disease. This disease damages the teeth, gum, and jawbone of more than 80 percent of Americans by age 45.

What Causes It

Periodontal Disease as well as decay are both caused by Bacterial Plaque. Plaque is a sticky colorless film, composed primarily of various types of bacteria, which adhere to your teeth at and below the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. It begins to form within minutes after cleaning. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This cannot be removed without professional cleaning.

The Bacterial plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may (but not always) cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing Periodontal Pockets (spaces) to form along the tooth. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.