What is Periodontitis?

Periodontal disease or periodontitis is a common chronic disease of periodontal tissues surrounding the tooth. Periodontitis usually occurs before the occurrence of gingivitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that can lead to inflammation of the deeper structures because of the presence of bacteria, weakened immunity and other risk factors. The main cause of this disease is plaque, a layer of food debris, bacteria and saliva responsible for tooth decay and for the inflammation of the gums. Plaque turns into tartar which additionally supports the growth of bacteria.

The gums become red, swollen, painful and start bleeding and if this problem is not treated at this phase, the bacteria located under the gum will start to multiply and destroy the supporting structure leading to the formation of pockets and withdrawing bone. The condition can develop faster or slower, but the final result is the same – tooth loss. The presence of bacteria from the plaque is crucial for the development of this disease, but there are many other factors that affect the progress and form of periodontal disease.

For instance, genetic factors, systemic factors, immune system, risk factors like stress and smoking, environmental impact, social factors are some of these factors. According to numerous scientific studies the risk of periodontitis is increased in smokers and the disease in these patients develops very fast.

In addition, these studies have shown the link between systemic diseases like cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases, osteoporosis and periodontal disease. It was determined that patients suffering from periodontal disease have a 25% greater risk of developing coronary heart disease.

These are some of the reasons why it is important to maintain periodontal health at home and by visiting dentist’s office for regular examinations. Treating this problem is much easier when it is diagnosed early.