Does gum disease lead to bone loss?

If you notice swelling and redness in the tissues around your teeth, you may have periodontitis, a form of periodontal disease. Talk to your dentist right away if you notice these symptoms. Periodontitis occurs when plaque by-products lead to the destruction of the tissues that anchor teeth in the bone. As the disease progresses, pockets form and allow more plaque to collect below the gum line. Tooth roots are exposed and may become at risk for decay and are sensitive to cold and touch. In advanced periodontitis, the teeth lose more support as the disease continues to destroy the periodontal ligament and bone. Unless treated, the affected teeth frequently become loose and may fall out or require removal by a dentist.

Loss of bone support is a feature of periodontitis. Certain organisms that proliferate in areas of the mouth that are more difficult to clean cause inflammation of the gum tissues and ultimately loss of bone.

Roya Arbab, DDS

Important factors such as: 1) patient's genetic predisposition to periodontal disease and 2) the kind of pathogens that have caused the gum disease to begin with, play a role into possibilities of bone loss and periodontal disease. Since identifying these factors is not simple, and gum disease is a form of chronic inflammation, it is best to eliminate the gum disease and not risk periodontal bone loss. To simplify, gum disease may cause bone loss and it is best not to risk finding out if you are infected with the pathogens that cause bone loss and if you are genetically susceptible to periodontal disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.