What Is Periodontal Disease?

You’ve probably heard of this ailment referred to as “gum disease”. That’s one of the more common terms it goes by. However, many people also refer to it as “periodontitis” or “gingivitis”, which are both stages in gum/periodontal disease. This problem is a painful inflammation of the gums which can lead to pain, excessive bleeding, tooth decay, and tooth loss. Periodontal disease often results from a lack of proper dental hygiene or seeing your dentist for dental services on a regular basis.

In this post, we’ll be discussing how periodontal disease forms, its symptoms and stages, and which dental treatments are most appropriate.


As with almost all dental problems, the main factor of origin with periodontal disease is plaque. That’s that sticky substance that builds up on your teeth when you go too long without brushing. Plaque forms from a combination of bacteria that naturally lives in your mouth with carbohydrates from the food that you consume. The combination of these two substances results in an acid, and that acid begins to accumulate further food particles left over from meals that you eat.

In light of this, it should make sense why certain foods are associated with higher risk of cavities and gum disease, namely:

    • Sugar foods like ice cream and candy
  • Starchy foods like bread, rice, corn, and potatoes

The reason for this is that these foods are all high in carbohydrates. The higher the carbohydrate amount in your food, the great the amount of plaque that will be created.

When plaque builds up on your teeth, it will eventually make its way into the gum line. This is why it is so important to not only brush your teeth, but to brush your gums as well. In fact, a better way of putting it would be to “massage” the gum line, as brushing too hard can lead to excessive bleeding.

Gum disease forms a result of plaque, but this occurs indirectly. Gum disease is actually the direct result of a hormone released by the body as a way of battling the bacteria and acid found in plaque, which creates an inflammation of the gums.

Symptoms, Stages, and the Appropriate Services

    • Gingivitis: The earliest stage of gum disease (gingivitis) manifests as excessive bleeding of the gums when brushing your teeth. There is often pain or discomfort associated with gingivitis, although it is generally mild. The best treatment for gingivitis is improved dental hygiene and diet, as well as gum cleanings from your dentist.
  • Periodontitis: This is an advanced stage of gum disease that is often very painful. At this point, the gums will begin to recede from the teeth, which results in a loosening of the teeth and often to tooth loss. At this stage, the disease is often more difficult to treat and reverse, and more advanced treatments are often required, including root scaling and planing.

It’s important to treat gum disease early on. The quicker this problem is addressed, the easier and less expensive the dental services will ultimately be.