When Good Gums Go Bad

Periodontal Disease (also known as gum disease) doesn’t just cause yuck mouth.  Numerous studies have linked it to serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes and stroke.  Not only does gum disease affect your mouth and cause tooth loss, but it also affects your body causing an inflammatory response that affects your health.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of all Americans 30 years old and older have some level of periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease is an inflammation of the gums and bone structures that hold the teeth in place.  Bacteria in the mouth continually form a sticky substance known as plaque, which adheres to the teeth and gums.  If plaque is not removed daily by brushing and flossing, then the bacteria builds up along and under the gum line, creating a hard deposit called tartar.  The presence of tartar stimulates a chronic infection in the gums, which eventually can lead to tooth loss if untreated.  The first signs of periodontal disease typically occur as adults reach the age of 30.  This is a slow process with the earliest signs being gum bleeding when you brush or floss.  Healthy gum tissue is tight and pink, but infected gums will appear puffy and red.  As the disease progresses, other symptoms include bad breath, sensitive teeth, and receding gums.  Advanced periodontal disease will eventually lead to loose teeth, painful chewing, and tooth loss if the disease is not arrested.  To halt the progression of the disease requires extensive dental cleanings and regular hygiene recalls.

Poor Oral Hygiene is the leading cause of periodontal disease, but genetics also play a big roll in this problem.  Other risk factors include smoking, diet, hormonal changes as we get older, diabetes, and certain medications.  The link between periodontal disease and diabetes is so strong that many insurance companies have begun to pay for an extra dental cleaning a year for their patients with diabetes.  For additional information on Periodontal Disease see our Web-Page at


Who Makes You Smile?
Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates
3290 Church Road
Henrico, VA  23233

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