Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a set of inflammatory conditions affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums become swollen, red, and may bleed. In its more serious form, called periodontitis, the gums can pull away from the tooth, bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or fall out. Bad breath may also occur.
Periodontal disease is generally due to bacteria in the mouth infecting the tissue around the teeth. Factors that increase the risk of disease include smoking, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, family history, and certain medications. Diagnosis is by inspecting the gum tissue around the teeth both visually and with a probe and X-rays looking for bone loss around the teeth.
Treatment involves good oral hygiene and regular professional teeth cleaning. Recommended oral hygiene include daily brushing and flossing. In certain cases antibiotics or dental surgery may be recommended. Globally 538 million people were estimated to be affected in 2015. In the United States nearly half of those over the age of 30 are affected to some degree, and about 70% of those over 65 have the condition. Males are affected more often than females.
The periodentium refers to the supporting structures of the teeth. Periodontal disease can be caused by pathological processes (e.g. bacteria, cancer), exogenous factors such as plague, oral debris, mechanical irritation, traumatic occlusion and irritation from crown and filling materials, and some systemic factors such as vitamin and protein deficiencies, hormonal disturbances, and some blood imbalances.
There are several types of periodontal disease. Gingivitis, evidenced by red, swollen or bleeding gums, is the mildest form and untreated gingivitis usually advances to periodontitis.
Periodontal disease is one of the most widespread diseases of humans and deprives many people of all their teeth long before old age. No nation nor area of the world is free from it, and in most it has a high prevalence, affecting in some degree approximately half the child population and almost the entire adult population.