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What causes aggressive periodontitis?

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, as plaque grows in pockets underneath the gum line and fosters the growth of toxic bacteria. Although there are 350 microorganisms in an individual's mouth, only about 5% are linked to gum disease. P. gingivalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans are most commonly associated with aggressive periodontitis.

An individual's own immune response to the bacteria triggers this autoimmune condition. The toxins produced from the bacteria cause chronic inflammation in the tissues surrounding the teeth and the subsequent destruction of tissues and bones by the body's own immune response. As the gums detach from the teeth, teeth eventually loosen. Individuals who are otherwise healthy may experience tooth loss as a result.
Aggressive periodontitis is a form of periodontitis, or gum disease. Peridontitis is a general term that means infection and inflammation around the teeth. Due to rapid infection and inflammation, people with aggressive peridontitis are at higher risk of bone and tooth loss.

The precise causes for aggressive periodontitis are not yet known. Experts have found that in some cases a type of bacteria (Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans) is found in especially high numbers. Some researchers have found a link between defective white blood cells (called neutrophils) and aggressive periodontitis, but the studies are inconclusive. Good oral hygiene, including brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once day, and regular dental check-ups will help prevent aggressive periodontitis.

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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.