Besides loss of tooth structure, bacterial growth on your teeth begins the process of inflammation of your gums called gingivitis. If this process is allowed to go on unchecked, it will begin to effect deeper structures that support the tooth (periodontal tissues) and now becomes the disease process called periodontitis.
Luckily, bacteria need a full 9-10 hours to build up that perfect layer of plaque on your teeth. By brushing your teeth at least twice a day in a way which cleans all surfaces of your teeth, you can reduce or completely prevent this process from happening. By visiting your dentist regularly, your teeth will be thoroughly checked to be sure no areas are missed.
Your mouth is full of bacteria. Bacteria create a coating on your teeth called plaque (that velvety, yellowish debri). When that layer gets thick enough on your teeth, it creates a protective layer or home for the bacteria to live. Through the process of living, bacteria create acids as a waste which begins to pull the calcium carbonate out of the enamel of your teeth. This is the beginning process of tooth decay (cavities). Acid attack of your teeth is also generally a slow process. Your body has its own natural defense to this problem which can also happen when you eat or drink acidic foods. Your body's saliva contains all the ingredients needed to remineralize this lost tooth structure. The problem, however, is that the plaque on your tooth may be too thick to allow this process to happen.
Gum disease includes gingivitis at the earliest stage which can then develop into periodontitis if left untreated. Periodontitis is a more advanced stage of inflammation compromising those structures responsible for holding your teeth in. This is usually a slow chronic process that can go unnoticed. Without treatment and proper home care the disease process can continue to the eventual point of tooth loss. Gum disease can effect just one tooth or the majority of your teeth and that is why a thorough examination of all your teeth needs to be done.
GUM DISEASE / PLAQUE CONTROL
With advanced stages of periodontal disease, the highly vascular tissue around your teeth begins to break down giving bacteria direct access into your bloodstream. Once in your bloodstream, bacteria and their inflammatory byproducts have access to other areas of your body like your heart, lungs and digestive tract. This creates a chronic, low grade inflammatory process throughout your body which is being shown more and more to be a significant contributory factor in heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes, immune disorders and low birth weights. The key is to stop this process before it starts. It takes very little time and some dedication to simply floss and brush your teeth twice a day. Taking care of your teeth and gums can and should be the first step of your overall health and sense of well being.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE: