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Gum Disease



How many people have gum disease? When was it discovered and who found it? Do you know any intresting facts about gum disease?


Most of us develop what is called gingivitis.  This inflammation is only limited to our gingival margin and does not cause bone loss around tooth. It happens due to dental plaque deposition and poor oral hygiene.

If gingivitis is not treated, it can cause chronic periodontitis which is inflammation affecting tooth supporting tissues including bone, periodontal ligament and root surface.  Approximately 40% of the adult population is susceptible to develop chronic periodontitis.

And then there is aggressive periodontitis.  It affects approximately 10-15% of the population.  It is seen generally at younger ages. It starts from specific areas in the mouth like around 1st molars and incisors and it can progress into generalized form affecting most of the teeth in relatively short time.  There are specific microorganisms involved.

Recent studies are finding significant correlations between genetics and development of severe chronic and aggressive types of periodontitis.  Also there is correlation between certain chronic systemic inflammatory processes like uncontrolled diabetes and periodontitis.  Smoking is also a risk factor for periodontitis.  Having long-term severe inflammatory process at a local area like mouth may affect systemic health too. For instance, recent studies are looking into possible relationships between chronic circulatory problems and the existence of severe chronic periodontitis.

All dentists are trained to question the existence of gum diseases.  When there are clinical signs such as deep probing depths, exposed root surfaces, tooth mobility, and bleeding, patients should be referred to periodontist who is a specialist to diagnose and treat periodontal diseases.

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Go to the Gum Diseases health topic.