Periodontal Disease: Signs and Prevention

This post was written by Janet Torres, our Community Relations Coordinator of Moline. 

The condition commonly referred as “gum disease” is also known in the medical community as “periodontal disease.” Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease of the structures that surround and support the teeth, including the gums, the cementum that covers the root, the periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone.

Periodontal means "Relating to or affecting tissues and structures surrounding and supporting the teeth."


In its early stage, gingivitis, the gums become swollen and red due to inflammation, the body’s natural response to the presence of harmful bacteria.  In its severe stage, periodontitis, the gums pull away from the tooth and the loss of these tissues that hold your teeth in place may lead to loss of your teeth or the needintense dental work.

According to recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of Americans age 30 or older have periodontitis, the advanced form of periodontal disease. This equates to approximately 64.7 million Americans.

There are a variety of signs to be on the lookout for with regards to periodontal disease

  • Swollen, red, tender or bleeding gums
  • Gums that recede or move away from the tooth
  • Persistent bad breath and taste in mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Visible pus surrounding the teeth and gums

Consider the following risk factors, as these can increase your risk of gum disease or make it worse once the infection has set in

  • Genes – some people are more susceptible to gum disease due to their genes, however is not inevitable and can be prevented with good oral hygiene
  • Poor hygiene – causes plaque buildup
  • Smoking and Tobacco use – can increase the risk of periodontal disease
  • Misaligned, crowded teeth, braces or bridge work – anything that makes it difficult to brush or floss your teeth
  • Medicines – several types of can cause dry mouth, xerostomia. Without enough saliva , plaque is more likely to form
  • Diseases – studies suggest that periodontal disease is connected to a variety of other diseases including heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis


Periodontal Disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms constantly on teeth. If the plaque is not removed, it can cause your gums to move away from your teeth, forming pockets in which more bacteria can collect. Plaque that is not removed hardens into calculus along and under your gums. Left untreated periodontal disease can damage the tissues that support your teeth, even the bone.

Luckily, you can prevent periodontal disease with good oral hygiene and visits to your dentist regularly.

Be sure to:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Clean between your teeth with floss or another inter-dental cleaner daily
  • Keep your dental checkup and cleaning appointments
  • Show your dentist how you brush and floss, and ask if you can make any improvements

Familia Dental is here to provide you and your family with the important services to prevent and treat periodontal disease. Click to view the special offers we have on dental cleanings and to book your regular visit today.

download our free periodontal brochure


American Academy of Periodontology

American Drug Association


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