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Though commonly referred to as gum disease, the medical condition known as periodontitis or periodontal disease is a bacterial infection and inflammation that affects over 47% of the population over 30. It develops after tartar is allowed to form on the gum line, and its spread can be accelerated through tobacco use as well as some medical conditions. The early stages of periodontal disease are insidiously pain-free, which leads to it normally going undetected until the condition worsens.

In its early stages, known as gingivitis, symptoms show which include: bad breath and gums that bleed easy while brushing or flossing and are also red and inflamed. Gingivitis can be potentially be reversed when daily oral care routines are improved and after regular dental cleanings.

When gingivitis continues untreated, the infection spreads deep into the gum tissue, causing periodontitis. At this stage, the gum line is pulled down from the teeth, and puts the spaces created at risk of bacteria formation. In addition, periodontitis is known to cause the loss of bone structure and teeth.

The systemic inflammation of periodontitis takes a toll on the immune system. Research indicates this can lead to other diseases and health risks such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and also some forms of cancer.

If you think you may have periodontal disease, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Richard Healy by calling 805-928-3928 in Santa Maria, California today.