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Periodontal disease, the medical term for gum disease, is a bacterial infection and inflammation of the gums caused by hard tartar at the gum line. This affects roughly forty-seven percent of the population over 30. Because its early stages are pain-free, it can often go undetected until more painful symptoms emerge. Periodontal disease can be accelerated by tobacco use and also some medical conditions.

The first stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis. People in this stage of gum disease will show symptoms of having bad breath in addition to red and inflamed gums that bleed easy when they brush or floss. At this point, reversing the disease is possible through maintaining or improving a proper daily oral care routine in addition to having a bi-yearly dental cleaning.

Ignoring these symptoms leads to the next stage of gum disease, periodontitis. At this point, the inflammation and infection have spread down into the gum tissue, pulling the gums away from the teeth. This creates spaces which bacteria can form. In the long term, periodontitis leads to a person losing teeth as well as bone structure.

The immune system is heavily taxed by the systemic inflammation imposed on it by periodontitis. Medical research suggests this causes other health problems such as heart disease, some forms of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and also diabetes.

If you feel you’re at risk of periodontal disease, please call Healy Dental Care at 801-394-0808 in Ogden, Utah today to schedule an appointment with Dr. James R. Healy.