Periodontal disease refers to any disorder which affects the gums or other tissue that surrounds the teeth. Gingivitis which is an inflammation of the gums is considered an early form of periodontal disease and if left untreated, can progress to pyorrhea, which can result in serious complications. Gum disease is a common condition of middle-aged people that can often require painful and expensive dental treatment. According to some estimates, the majority of the American public is at high risk for developing periodontal disease. The average senior citizen has only five natural teeth left. Forty percent of all retired people wear dentures of some type. Men are more susceptible to periodontal disease, and it is also more common among lower social and economic groups. Gingivitis is characterized by gums that are swollen, sore and bleed upon contact. In addition, the gums can appear red, soft and shiny. Pyorrhea which is an advanced stage of periodontal disease, is characterized by painful, bleeding gums, shrinking or receding gums, localized pain, swelling in the jaw region, sensitivity to hot and cold, toothaches, halitosis, bone loss in the jaw, and abscesses. See the immediately if anyone have gums that are shrinking away from the teeth, have an altered bite so that the teeth come together differently than they did before, find pockets of pus between the teeth, find teeth that become loose or fall out, or have gums that continually bleed and stay sore and swollen.
Gingivitis can be caused by deposits of plaque and bacteria in and around the teeth as a result of poor dental hygiene, food impaction, mouth breathing, tooth grinding, dentures that do not fit properly, faulty dental fillings which can cause gum irritations, missing teeth, tooth decay, a diet low in fibrous foods, lack of vitamin C, folic acid, calcium or niacin, chronic illness, blood diseases such as leukemia or anemia, smoking, poor nutrition, certain drugs, some glandular disorders, excessive consumption of sugar, and alcohol consumption. Diabetics can be at much higher risk for developing gum disease due to their decreased resistance to infection. Tobacco smoking also increases the