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 and red and may bleed. It is considered the main cause of tooth loss for adults worldwide. 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. Clinical investigations demonstrate that quitting smoking and making dietary changes enhance periodontal health. Globally 538 million people were estimated to be affected in 2015 and has been known to affect 10-15% of the population generally. 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.
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.