5 Facts About Periodontal Disease: Understanding Gum Health

​​Periodontal disease, a leading cause of tooth loss in adults, affects millions worldwide. Characterized by gum inflammation due to plaque buildup, it can escalate to serious health issues. Early detection, proper oral hygiene, and regular dental check-ups are crucial for prevention and treatment.

Smiling woman has healthy gums and teeth in Houston, TX

Periodontal disease, commonly referred to as gum disease, affects millions of people worldwide and is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults. The prevalence of periodontal disease increases with age, with studies showing that over 70% of adults aged 65 and older have periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the gums and the surrounding structures of the teeth. It is caused by the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to serious complications, including tooth loss and an increased risk of other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Despite its prevalence and potential consequences, many people are unaware of the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease and the importance of gum health. Early detection and treatment are crucial in preventing the progression of gum disease and preserving oral health.

It’s important to know the symptoms of gum disease, the causes of gum pain, how to spot damaged gum tissue, risk factors, and treatment options for periodontal disease. It’s also crucial to get regular dental check-ups and practice proper oral hygiene practices to help prevent and manage this common condition.

Read on to learn more about periodontal disease and five important facts about this oral health challenge:

Here are Five Important Facts About Periodontal Disease

Fact 1: Half of American Adults Are Affected

CDC (Centers for Disease Control) statistics show that almost half of Americans over 30 suffer from gum disease, impacting an estimated 64.7 million people in the U.S. alone. 

Fact 2: Impact on Oral Structures

Periodontal disease targets both the soft and hard tissues supporting the gums and teeth. In its initial stages, known as gingivitis, it causes gums to swell and appear red due to inflammation. These symptoms indicate an urgent need for dental care.

Failure to seek dental attention promptly can exacerbate the condition, as periodontal disease inevitably progresses to periodontitis, an advanced stage where gums and teeth deteriorate, potentially leading to tooth loss.

Fact 3: Causes and Risk Factors

Various factors can increase susceptibility to periodontal disease. Periodontitis is primarily caused by the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Plaque contains harmful bacteria that can irritate the gums, leading to inflammation. If plaque is not removed through regular brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. Tartar buildup can lead to gum inflammation and infection, which are characteristic of periodontal disease.

Other contributing factors include:

  • Inadequate daily oral care and hygiene practices
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Underlying health issues or certain medications affecting oral health
  • Age, dietary habits, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption

Fact 4: Treatment's Impact on Overall Health

Extensive research indicates a systemic connection between periodontal disease and other common illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Periodontists can address oral inflammation, a key factor linked to other serious health conditions. Proper treatment for periodontitis may reduce inflammation, eliminating pathways that lead to other diseases.

Fact 5: Progression from Gingivitis to Periodontitis

Gingivitis results from plaque and tartar buildup between teeth, and untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis if not managed by dental professionals. Failure to promptly address excessive tartar and plaque accumulation can lead to severe damage to teeth, gums, and jawbone.

If you're experiencing gingivitis symptoms, seek professional evaluation promptly to avoid progression to periodontitis and potential permanent tooth loss. Periodontists can offer relief in the form of laser gum therapy, prophylaxis dental cleaning, periodontal scaling, root planing, and more treatment options.

Where to Find the Best Periodontist in Houston

Periodontal disease is a common and preventable condition that can have serious consequences for oral health if left untreated. By understanding the causes, risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options for periodontal disease, you can take proactive steps to protect your gums and teeth and maintain a healthy smile for years to come.

At Sapphire Smiles, our in-house expert periodontist, Ernest Erian, DDS, MSD, can help you if you’re dealing with periodontal issues such as gum disease or bleeding gums. He leverages the newest technology and periodontal procedures so that you can be comfortable during treatment and get the results you’re looking for. We believe that your smile deserves the best care, and our team is here to help you achieve and maintain optimal oral health.

If you're experiencing symptoms of gum disease, contact Sapphire Smiles Dentistry today to learn more about how periodontal therapy can improve your oral health and get relief today.

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No two smiles are exactly the same, and your dental care should reflect that. The team at Sapphire Smiles provides all of our clients with personalized care that aims to address your oral health issues in a way that is most comfortable and effective for you. Our dental practice is family owned and we treat every patient like a member of our family. Our aim is always to achieve the most exceptional outcome possible, and this sets us apart from other dental clinics.

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When you choose the team at Sapphire Smiles, you won’t just receive superior dental services; you’ll receive superior dental care. We’re committed to providing an unmatched experience to our patients so they feel as comfortable as possible while they’re achieving the smile of their dreams.

Dr. Mary and Dr. Antoun love creating a connection with their patients so that they can better understand their needs, and they have built a talented team with the same perspective. When you want only the best in dental care, Sapphire Smiles is the answer.

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Earlier this year I didn’t have a dentist in Houston, so I was looking for someone that could do my cleanings, but also help with veneers. Dr. Antoun at Sapphire Smiles talked me through the whole process and really made me feel comfortable in my decision to go through with the veneers. I am beyond satisfied with the results!

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