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Most tooth loss in people over age 35 is from Periodontal Disease.

Everyone knows to brush their teeth twice a day, but many people forget about their gums! The word disease sounds scary— and it can be if you don’t take care of your gums. Here is some information about what gum disease is, what causes it, and how you can prevent it.

What is periodontal (gum) disease? Periodontal means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth.

It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed. Gingivitis is the mildest form of the disease. In this stage, the gums redden, swell, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort.

What causes gum disease?

As mentioned, plaque is recognized as the primary cause of gum disease. If plaque isn’t removed each day by brushing and flossing, it hardens into a rough, porous substance called calculus (also known as tartar). Toxins produced and released by bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. These toxins cause the breakdown of the fibers that hold the gums tightly to the teeth, creating periodontal pockets that fill with even more toxins and bacteria. As the dis- ease progresses, pockets become deeper, and the bacteria move down until the bone that holds the tooth in place is destroyed. Eventually, severe infection may develop with pain and swelling. The tooth may loosen and later require removal.

There are other factors, too. Smokers and tobacco users are at a higher risk of developing gum disease. Changing hormone levels in pubescent teenagers and

women who are pregnant also can increase the risk of gum disease. Stress, clenching or grinding your teeth, an unhealthy diet, and diabetes can increase your chances of developing gum disease as well. And, in some cases, it’s in your genes nearly 30 percent of the human population is genetically predisposed to gum disease.

How is it treated?

In the early stages of gum disease, most treatment involves a special cleaning called scaling and root planing, which removes plaque and tartar around the tooth and smooths the root surfaces. Antibiotics or antimicrobials may be used to supplement the effects of scaling and root planing. In most cases of early gum disease, scaling and root planing and proper daily cleaning will definitely help. More advanced cases may require surgical treatment, which involves cutting the gums—sometimes with the assistance of a laser to remove the hardened plaque build-up and then recontouring the damaged bone. The procedure also

is designed to smooth root surfaces and reposition the gum tissue so it will be easier to keep clean. This procedure may be performed by your general dentist or by a specialist, like a periodontist.

How can I maintain treatment at home? Sticking to a maintenance program is crucial for patients who want to sustain

Removing plaque through daily brushing and flossing and professional cleaning is the best way to minimize your risk.

the results of periodontal therapy. You should visit the dentist every three to four months (or more frequently, de- pending on the patient) for spot scaling and root planing and an overall exam. Between visits, brush at least twice a day and floss daily.

How can I prevent gum disease?

Removing plaque through daily brushing and flossing and professional cleaning is the best way to minimize your risk. You also should try to reduce the activities mentioned above (smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, grinding your teeth, and so forth). Talk to your dentist and he or she can design a personalized program for home oral care to meet your needs.

Contact Dr. Jerry Paz by phone at 636-456-2454 or learn more at


Surprising but true: the major cause of tooth loss in adults is not decay – it’s periodontal (gum) disease. And it’s completely painless right up to advanced stage.

More than half of all people over the age of 18 have at least the early stage of periodontal disease. After age 35 about three out of four adults are affected.

Some people seem to be more susceptible to gum disease that others. Anything from pregnancy, systematic disease (like diabetes), and certain medications can contribute to its development. Smoking increases the likelihood dramatically. Some unlucky folks are inherently more susceptible because of unique bacterial and chemical mixes in the mouth and encourage plaque.

The results of gum disease aren’t pretty early stages show up as persistent bad breath and red swollen gums.Eventually tooth loss is inevitable.

But there is good news. Once you’ve been diagnosed your dentist can start you on the treatment program that involves mechanical removal of plaque and smoothing the root surfaces of teethe so gum tissue has a chance to reattach. As Co-therapist, your dentist will depend on you to continue to work at home. It’s critical to the Success of your treatment that you:

1. Brush and floss twice a day

2. Come in regularly. Only a hygienist can get your teeth their cleanest.

3. Maintain a healthy diet.

Periodontal disease can be treated at every stage. If you notice any signs of gum problems, do call your dentist for a periodontal exam. Together you can beat the statistics and have a good chance of never having to wear dentures.

At Laser Comfort Dentistry we check for signs of Periodontal (gum) disease at your regular checkup and cleaning. If you are diagnosed gum disease even at an early stage please take action immediately. Contact Dr. Jerry Paz by phone at 636-456-2454 or learn more at

We all know what we are supposed to do to take care of our teeth.  Brush. Floss. Checkups. But new information released by the MDA (Missouri Dental Association) states that only half of all Missourians see their dentist twice a year. HELLO!  Gum disease may be linked to heart disease, among other problems. After reading this staggering statistic I thought I would share it with you.  What people don’t realize is “what happens in your mouth doesn’t stay in your mouth.” The importance of oral health reaches far beyond your mouth. Research has shown links between gum disease and other significant health conditions. Just a few examples are

Prenatal Care: Research is not conclusive, but there have been studies linking poor oral health in pregnant woman to premature birth and low birth weight babies

Heart Disease: Recent Studies indicate there may be a link between gum disease and heart disease. For example, some research suggest that bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and increase the risk for heart disease.

Diabetes Management: Oral infections and gum disease can be more severe and difficult to treat in people with diabetes. For this reason, a regular oral health screening is as important as a foot health screening and is a habit worth making.

Your mouth is talking. Are you listening? Four out of five Missourians know they should have two dental checkups a year, but only about half actually go that often. What’s more, nearly one-fourth have recently gone two or more years without seeing their dentist at all. Missourians say cost and lack of time are reasons, but the cost of treating preventable problems is much higher than regularly scheduled exams and cleanings. Left untreated, dental decay does not heal and will get worse. This can cause more serious health concerns and more expensive treatment.

If it has been more than six months since you’ve seen your dentist, it’s time you two get together. If I’m your Dentist help me save your good health. Please Call me at 636-456-2454 or visit our website and request your appointment today!

*facts were referenced from the MDA 2010 public education campaign.