Statistically speaking, four out of five people who have periodontal disease don’t even know it, because it is usually painless in the early stages. Having your dentist perform regular check-ups can go a long way to preventing any lasting occurrence of periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease begins with the accumulation of plaque, which is a sticky colorless film of bacteria, food debris, and saliva. When this film is not brushed away well each day, the accumulation of bacteria and food particles held in the plaque can inflame the gums and destroy the bone over time.
Infrequent brushing is only one of a few risk factors contributing to the development of periodontal disease. Other factors include:
- Some medications: Steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure medications, and oral contraceptives
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes and AIDS, etc.
- Smoking or chewing tobacco: higher incidence of periodontal disease is seen in people who smoke or chew
- Pregnancy or oral contraceptives
- Life changes such as puberty
- Positioning of teeth or crowding of teeth can make it very difficult to reach some areas regardless of proper brushing and flossing techniques
- Ill-fitting crowns or other appliances, such as partials, can allow food to accumulate in specific areas, leading to periodontal disease regardless of good oral habits.