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What is Periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease (or commonly known as gum disease) is an inflammatory disease of the support structures of teeth. These structures include gingiva (gum), periodontal ligament and alveolar bone (part of the jaw bone). The gingiva, being the most superficial tissue, provides most of the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease, such as swelling, redness, bleeding, recession etc. When inflammation is confined ONLY to the superficial layer (the gingiva), the condition is known as Gingivitis. This is a very common condition affecting adults and children alike. When inflammation is spread to and involving deeper structures (such as bone) the condition is known as Periodontitis (or Periodontal Disease). It is usually characterized by the irreversible loss of alveolar bone. This bone loss feature can be seen on radiographs (x-ray). About 30% of the adult population can have limited periodontitis during their lifetime. Generalised and severe periodontitis only affects 10-15% of the adult population.