Peridontics is a dental specialty concerned with your gums and underlying jawbone, which are responsible for anchoring your teeth. Keeping your teeth is directly dependent on proper periodontal care and maintenance. Your gums enhance the appearance of your teeth and smile, like a frame around a beautiful painting. When your gums become unhealthy, they can either recede or turn swollen and red. In later stages, as the supporting bone is destroyed, your teeth can shift, loosen or fall out. These changes not only affect your ability to chew and speak, but also spoil your smile.
Periodontal (gum) disease, which is caused by infection started by plaque bacteria, damages the teeth, gums and jawbone of more than 80% of Americans by age 45. It is the major cause of tooth loss in adults.
Recent research has uncovered many relationships between periodontal health and your general medical status. For example, if you have gum disease then your risk for a heart attack is significantly greater. Also, pregnant women have been found to have greater chances for a premature, low birth-weight baby. And pregnant women with any underlying gum problems risk acceleration of their gum disease if untreated through the course of their pregnancy. Similarly, diabetics, who are at high risk for rapidly progressing gum disease, can improve their diabetes control by establishing healthy gum tissue.
Periodontal disease tends to be hereditary, and can be communicated between family members (especially spouses). Since periodontal health is an integral part of your overall health, we encourage you to suggest a periodontal examination for family members.