Is it important to know how periodontal disease happens? Of course it is. There are many misconceptions about dental and gum diseases and as a result of acting on these wrong assumptions, people lose teeth. Probably the worst misconception is that teeth are lost due to aging. Although over time teeth do suffer from some “wear and tear,” tooth loss is not generally a result of the aging process. Tooth loss is the result of a disease accumulation process. The longer you live, the greater the opportunity for damage from disease to accumulate and result in tooth loss. That also means that throughout life we have the opportunity to stop the accumulation of new disease, provided we have good information and acquire the skills necessary to prevent new disease from occurring.
Periodontal disease is an infection caused by dental plaque, a bacterial biofilm, that invades gum tissue and releases toxins, inflaming the gums (gingivitis). Left untreated by the patient, this inflammation eventually spreads deeper and damages the jaw-bone, resulting in the formation of periodontal pockets (chronic periodontitis). Chronic periodontitis (periodontal disease; pyorrhea) is not curable but is controllable with proper treatment and a plan. Gingivitis may be self-treatable but chronic periodontitis is not self-treatable and requires treatment by a well trained dental professional. If not brought under control, bone loss progresses and teeth are eventually lost.