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Periodontitis is a group of conditions. All of them involve inflammation of the gums and other structures that support the teeth. This disease often starts as gingivitis. Periodontitis is caused by bacteria that result in a mouth infection. Your body tries to fight the infection. Some of the substances that your body produces can be harmful. They damage the jaw bone and the ligament around the teeth.

 If this process continues, the teeth become loose. Pockets form between the teeth and gums. These pockets are places where more bacteria grow. If your periodontitis is not treated, your teeth can fall out.

Periodontitis is not usually painful.

Older adults are more likely to have periodontitis.

People who smoke are much more likely to get periodontitis. Smoking may increase the damage to the tissues supporting your teeth.


Symptoms include:

  • Reddened, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Loose Teeth
  • Bad breath
  • An unpleasant taste in the mouth

Many people do not know that these symptoms can be signs of a problem.


Your dentist will examine your mouth. He or she will test your gums with a dental probe. If you have periodontitis, the probe will go deeper between your teeth and gums than it normally would.

Your dentist may test for loose teeth. It is normal that the teeth can be moved slightly even in people who don't have periodontis. But the teeth may be much looser than normal in people with periodontitis. This is because of damage to the fibers and bone that support the teeth.