What is Periondontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, more commonly referred to as gum disease, is a bacterial, chronic inflammatory disease of the gums that can destroy bone and connective tissue. It affects 65 million people - that's one out of every two American adults - yet few people know about the disease.

More than 500 species of bacteria can be found in dental plaque. Plaque and bacteria that live below the gum line can irritate and inflame the gums, leading to the two types of periodontal diseases:

  • * Gingivitis: The mildest form of periodontal disease, gingivitis can be caused by inadequate oral hygiene. It is characterised by red, swollen gums.

  • * Periodontitis: More advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, occurs if gingivitis is not managed, oral hygiene is poor, and/or you have a generic predisposition. Periodontitis can cause gums to separate from the teeth, forming pockets that become infected with bacteria. If left untreated, periodontitis can damage the attachment of the teeth to the bone and can eventually lead to tooth loss.


The early stages of gum disease are often painless, and even moderate stages may cause little or no pain. Consequently, you may not know you're at risk. The most common symptoms of gum disease include the following:

  • * Red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
  • * Receding gums that cause teeth to look longer than before
  • * Pus between the gums
  • * Persistent bad breath