Does Everyone Have Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, commonly referred to as gum disease is an infection of the gums, the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. It is the leading cause of tooth loss.

It occurs as a result of bacteria found in plaque. To fight plaque, your body releases substances that cause inflammation of the gum and of the periodontal ligament. Periodontal disease is prevalent in the general US population but higher among older adults.

It's a very common condition. You may have it but not know it. Only a proper diagnosis by your dentist will tell whether you have it. Here are a few symptoms to look out for.


The disease progresses in stages. Gingivitis is the early stage of the disease. At this stage, only the gums are affected. They are red and swollen and bleed easily. This is often accompanied by bad breath.

As the disease progresses, the bones recede. The roots may become exposed resulting in tooth sensitivity. Bone loss may still occur though not visible. Tooth loss could result.


This is a more serious stage of the disease. At this level, all tissues around the teeth are affected. The gums recede and there is bone loss.


The main cause of the disease is poor oral hygiene which leads to a build-up of plaque. However, it can also be caused by changes that occur in the mouth at different stages in life such as during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease are sometimes responsible for the condition by inhibiting the production of sugar. Some medications, old age and habits like teeth grinding and clenching could also lead to gum disease.

Teeth fillings can be instrumental in preventing gum disease from getting worse. When you have a cavity, it can irritate the gums can cause bacteria to pool in that area. Teeth fillings clean up the infection and allow gum irritation to clear up. Aside from that, general brushing and flossing are important. 

Treatment Options

Once you have periodontal disease, you'll always have it. It can only be managed but not cured.

At the earlier stages, treatment options include regular brushing and flossing and having your teeth regularly cleaned by a dentist.

At more advanced stages, you will have to go through tissue regeneration and/or surgery.

Tissue regeneration involves grafting of tissue to grow back the bones and gums. Gum surgery on the other hand will eliminate pockets between the gum and the teeth while bone surgery is meant to remove craters where bacteria lodge.

While it is difficult to tell how many people have periodontal disease, it is safe to say that many people have it without their knowledge. If you have the symptoms, have a check-up, get treatment and save yourself the agony of tooth loss.

To learn more, visit a website like