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Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease) is a disease of the soft tissues and bone surrounding the teeth. It is responsible for most tooth loss in adults. Dental plaque is a sticky network of bacteria that can cause gum inflammation and destruction of the bone that holds teeth in place. The following are some specific conditions related to gum disease:

  • Gingivitis can be considered the first stage of gum disease and simply means that there is an infection in the gum tissue caused by bacteria
  • Tartar (calculus) is plaque that has become hardened with salts from saliva. It can be compared to a coral reef or sponge having many tiny holes that act as a home for bacteria
  • Periodontitis is when the gums pull away from the teeth and the infection begins to destroy the bone that holds the teeth in place.

Risk Factors

  • Smoking
  • Hormonal changes in girls/women
  • Diabetes
  • Stress: Stress can make our bodies difficult to fight infection
  • Medications: some drugs such as antidepressants that cause less saliva and dry mouth (Saliva has a protective effect on teeth and gums)
  • Illnesses: Illness can affect teeth and gums

Prevention strategies

  • Don't use Tobacco Products! Smoking is one of the most important risk factors in developing gum disease. The use of other tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco and snuff, on top of being risk factors for gum disease, also create the risk of cancers of the mouth and jaw.
  • Brush your teeth at least 2 times a day
  • Floss or clean between your teeth with inter-dental cleaners
  • Get routine dental check-ups
Key Contacts
Oral Health:
(608) 243-0354

Debi DeNure, RDH
(608) 243-0499