Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is responsible for more tooth loss than any other condition. Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease include red and swollen gums, accumulation of plaque (sticky build-up) and calculus (hardened build-up) on the teeth, and loss of bone surrounding the tooth root. The bacteria in plaque and calculus can invade the fibers connecting the tooth to the bone and create deeper, larger pockets for them to collect in. This snowballing process eventually eats away at the bone surrounding the tooth under the gums.
- It can be difficult at best, and most often impossible, to replace bone when it is lost. Therefore, once you have periodontal disease, you will always have periodontal disease, in that you will always have a higher chance of it causing even more damage.
- The areas where bacteria collect must be cleaned on a regular basis. Regular professional cleanings and periodontal maintenance are the only way to prevent the condition from worsening.