Cavities tend to plague the young; gum disease gets us when we’re older.


Sure, most of us brush our teeth at least once a day (maybe lackadaisically, but we still brush). And since we aren’t getting cavities any more (we’re brushing, after all!) we assume that we’re home free.


Hardly. If we don’t take care of our gums as we get older we very likely will lose at least one tooth after 65 – if not sooner.


What’s more, gum disease – its clinical term is periodontal disease – can also lead to other health risks such as heart attack and stroke.


Periodontal disease starts out as gingivitis – the least severe form of the disease. Symptoms can include swelling, redness, and bleeding gums (often when you brush your teeth). You’ll probably feel no pain with gingivitis, but if left untreated (and most people can take care of gingivitis with better oral care under the direction of their Keller dentist), it can develop into periodontitis.


This happens because plaque spreads beneath your gum line and the toxins produced by plaque cause irritation. Your body responds with inflammation, causing the tissue and bone beneath your teeth to degrade, with your teeth and gums growing more and more separate from each other. Infection can set in and the cycle continues, with the destruction of more supporting tissue and bone. Given enough time, your teeth can loosen and need to be removed.


But wait! There’s more: there are multiple types of periodontitis. What’s known as aggressive periodontitis usually shows up in healthy people. This type of periodontitis is characterized by rapid destruction of bone and loss of attachment. Chronic periodontitis is the most common type and it’s known for the inflammation of supporting tissue and a slow progression of attachment loss.


As hinted at above, periodontitis can also be a product of another disease (respiratory disease is common), diabetes, heart ailments, and so on.


Finally, a particularly bad form of the disease is necrotizing periodontal disease. This is where the periodontal ligaments, gum tissues and bone die. This type of periodontal disease is most common in patients who have suppressed immune systems.


The treatment for periodontal disease depends on how severe it is. As mentioned above, gingivitis can be tamed with good oral hygiene habits (flossing regularly, brushing for at least one minute each time, regular dental checkups with tooth cleaning and plaque and tartar buildup removed from your teeth).


Scaling and root planning are other non-surgical treatments. Treatments that require surgery include flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery, bone grafts, soft tissue grafts, guided tissue regeneration, and bone surgery.


Most gum disease can be treated non-surgically; the surgical procedures listed above are almost always necessary when the tissue around the teeth is unhealthy and can’t be repaired otherwise.


As serious as periodontal disease is, it’s relatively easy to prevent: take care of your teeth and gums!


For more information about Dr. Brent Cornelius please visit

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  • Well defined article on preventing tooth loss and its effect on us.The healthier your teeth and gums are, the less risk you have for tooth decay and gum disease. Ideas shared by you are really effective. Brushing and flossing properly, along with regular dental checkups, can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.  The best way to do this is by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day. So you should always be sure your toothpaste contains fluoride.

  • Thank you Doctor,

    In India we chew sticks of trees like mango tree, Neem tree, babul tree and 9 other trees.

    I have three trees of Neem in front of my house. I take one little branch which has 12 leafs on it, I take two glass of water boil it and put those leafs in it for ten minutes and the best mouth wash is ready, Neem leafs has antibacterial,anti-fungal and other properties which helps prevent the gingivitis and other periodontal problems and also cures gingivitis very effectively and free of cost, if used regularly all your life.

    In past in India there were no need of Dentists as there was a tradition to chew the sticks of different trees which has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal properties. Every one in India used to chew these sticks and even today many of them do as I do and keep the teeth and gums healthy easily and free of cost. When my grandmother died at the age of 80, she had all her teeth intact and so she never visited a Dentist in her life time, the reason is that she chew the sticks of these trees which has amazing antibacterial, anti inflammatory, anti fungal and many other good properties to keep the oral health at its best. While chewing these sticks of the size of a pencil, lot of saliva is produced and these saliva is mixed with the chemicals present in the tree, which helps keep the oral cavity from plaque formation and its antibacterial properties helps to prevent cavities also. 

    My two cents

    May all be Happy and at ease.

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