Patient Education

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease or "gum disease" is a chromic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one or more teeth. Plaque is the primary culprit- it is the sticky, colorless film of bacteria that normally collects around teeth.

Periodontal disease is the major cause of about 70 percent of adult tooth loss and affects three out of four persons at some point in life. More than one in three people over the age of 30 have a form of periodontal disease beyond gingivitis. Because periodontal disease deveops without pain or symptoms, most people are not aware of their problem- it is truly a silent tooth killer.

Recent research has found a relationship between periodontal infection and serious health issues as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and premature birth.

Conscientious removal of plaque by brushing, flossing and professional cleanings can minimize the risks of gum disease. However, there are other risk factors that can affect the health of your gums including hereditary, stress, diabetes, pregnancy and smoking.

Stages of Periodontal Disease:
Healthy Gums - Healthy gums are firm and pink.
Gingivitis - This is the earliest stage of gum disease. The gums are red, swollen, and bleed easily. Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis.
Mild Periodontitis - The gums begin to separate from the teeth, forming pockets which fill with plaque (bacteria).
Moderate Periodontitis - Deeper pockets form as more bone and tissue are lost.
Severe Periodontitis - Teeth may become loose because a large amount of bone and tissue have been lost.
Gingival (Gum) Recession - The gums around the teeth have receded secondary to infection and/ or heavy toothbrushing.

Learn more about types of gum disease

Warning Signs
The following signs may give a clue to having gum disease. If you have any of them, contact your dentist right away.
- Bad breath or bad taste
- Bleeding gums
- Bleeding when you brush
- Loose teeth
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
- Pus in-between your teeth and gums when you press down on the gums
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down
- Shifting teeth

It is possible not to have these warning signs and still have gum disease. Also, most people do not usually feel pain with the disease. This is why regular checkups are important.

Learn more about risk factors associated with gum disease


Visit NJ Monthly Magazine to read more about Dr. Marc Gordon

Dr. Marc Gordon is a dentist providing dental procedures such as dental implants and periodontal treatment in Howell, NJ, Eatontown, NJ and New York, NY.
Dr. Marc Gordon is licensed as a Periodontist in the states of New Jersey and New York.