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Periodontal disease, the medical term for gum disease, is usually contracted when hard tartar is allowed to form on the gum line. Its spread is accelerated by tobacco use and some medical conditions and an estimated 47% of people over 30 are affected by periodontal disease. The early stages of this disease have no painful symptoms and can go unnoticed.

In its earliest stages, known as gingivitis, the gums become red or inflamed. They also show signs of bleeding after being brushed. Another symptom of gingivitis is chronic bad breath. It’s potentially possible to reverse the effects of gum disease at this stage by improving your brushing and flossing routines and having regular dental cleanings.

When gingivitis is left untreated, the gum disease worsens. The infection and inflammation spread into the gum tissue and cause periodontitis. Periodontitis causes the gum lines to pull away from the teeth. This creates spaces between the teeth and the gum line in which bacteria are likely to form. It’s also possible to lose bone structure and teeth due to periodontitis.

The systemic inflammation of the body caused by periodontitis taxes the immune system. Medical research has shown this taxation can lead to other medical conditions and diseases such as heart disease, some forms of cancer, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

If you feel you may have periodontal disease, please contact Alberto A. Herrero, DDS in Ann Arbor, Michigan at 734-222-9140 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Alberto A. Herrero.