Periodontal Disease

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

The primary cause of periodontal disease is dental plaque. This is the soft, yellowish-white build up that occurs naturally around teeth. It consists of bacteria and the by-products they excrete. Although bacteria are naturally found in all mouths and play an important role in keeping out more harmful types of bacteria, if they are allowed to proliferate, the body defends itself in a process called inflammation. Frequently the inflammation is limited to only the gums (gingivitis) and is sufficient to prevent any further damage. However, in some people, an exaggerated inflammatory response occurs, and this poorly controlled inflammation leads to breakdown of the supporting structures for the tooth, such as the periodontal ligament and the surrounding bone.