Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and the bone that support the teeth, characterized by red, swollen and bleeding gums. Plaque, a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva, is what starts the infection. If plaque is left on the teeth, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone. Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Except for bad breath and gums that bleed, there are very few early warning signs. The disease advances silently, usually without pain, and before you know it, you are losing your teeth and you don't know why.
Tooth loss is only the most obvious indicator of periodontal disease. Scientific research has discovered links between periodontal disease and stroke, heart disease, diabetes - even an increased risk for pregnant women. When your gums become diseased, your entire immune system is weakened.
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