What is Periodontal Disease?

There is a large percent of the population who do not realize that they suffer with periodontal disease. Notice, we used the word suffer. Periodontal disease does not only affect your mouth, but your total health as well. There are different stages of periodontal disease.


When gingivitis goes untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. Plaque and bacteria can form and grow under the gumline, and toxins from the bacteria start to irritate gums. The gum tissue and supporting bone are both broken down and destroyed creating pockets that become infected resulting in more bone loss. Unfortunately, the symptoms of periodontitis can be mild, and not easily noticed. Eventually, teeth can become mobil and need to be removed.

  • Gingivitis- the mildest form of disease. Signs of gingivitis are red, swollen or gums that bleed easily. Normally, there is not a lot of discomfort at this stage.
  • Periodontitis- At this stage patient start to notice more inflammation of the gums and even bone loss. (Bone loss is not always noticed by the patient.) Bone loss causes you to have pockets below the gum line which can cause food and bacteria to become trapped under the gum tissue. Recession may also be noticed at this stage. Patients of any age can experience this stage of periodontal disease, but more often seen in adults. Normally progresses slowly but would not be abnormal if progression happened more rapid.
  • Advanced Periodontitis- at this stage of Periodontitis teeth may become loose. The bone is destroyed at this point as well as the gum tissue. At this stage tooth loss is more likely to be expected.

Signs warning you of periodontal infection.

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth mobility
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Change in fitting of partial dentures

Causes of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease begins with bacteria in plaque. Inflammation is caused by the bacteria in plaque that irritates the gums. The inflammation can go unnoticed and can damage not only the attachment of the gums but the surrounding bone as well.

Good thorough homecare and a steady hygiene schedule with your hygienist will greatly benefit your oral and physical health.

Risk increasers

  • Tobacco products
  • Systemic diseases
  • Medications
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Poor nutrition

© 2014 Dr. Jody Harrison • Practice Limited to Periodontics • 201 East Chestnut Street • Asheville, NC 28801 • 828-255-8100