Also called gingivitis or gum disease, periodontal disease is fairly common even in younger patients. It can range from a simple infection of your gums to damage to your tissues and jaw bone. Poor oral hygiene can lead to marginal gingivitis which is an infection of the tissue around the crown of your teeth.
If untreated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, which involves more than just the ring of gum around the tooth crown. Eventually, the gum will separate from your tooth and the plaque that caused gingivitis moves down below the gum. At this point, only a dentist or hygienist can adequately clean and disinfect your tooth. If left untreated, the infection may invade your root, causing tooth loss, dental infection, abscess or pain.
Periodontal disease often develops and progresses unbeknownst to you, so it is important to visit your general dentist every 6 months for exams and cleanings.
If you get the periodontal disease you may need to visit your dentist more frequently throughout the year (every three months) and possibly receive “deep cleanings” from a periodontal specialist.