Periodontal disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss and second only to the common cold as the most prevalent infectious ailment in the United States.
Periodontal means "located around the tooth." Periodontal disease, therefore can refer to any disorder of thegums or other supporting structures of the teeth. Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) is the early stage of periodontal disease. It is caused by plaque buildup. The accumulation of plaque causes the gums to become infected and swollen. As the gums swell, pockets form between the gums and the teeth. These pockets act as a trap for more plaque.
If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a condition called periodontitis. This is an advanced stage of periodontal disease in which the bone suporting th teeth begins to erode as a result of the infection.
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