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What to Know About Periodontitis

If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis. The gingival pockets deepen, inflammation increases, and the tissues that support the teeth deteriorate. While periodontitis always begins with gingivitis, not all cases of untreated gingivitis develop into periodontitis.

Periodontitis can start as early as adolescence, but it’s more common after age 30. Although periodontitis tends to worsen with age, it doesn’t always progress in a linear fashion. Researchers believe that short episodes of intense disease activity are followed by periods of remission. Periodontitis appears to come and go randomly at different sites in the mouth. The disease doesn’t actually disappear; it merely subsides for a while or reactivates in another area.

Periodontitis comes in several forms, with chronic adult periodontitis being the most common. One relatively rare type of adult periodontitis advances very rapidly and often doesn’t respond to treatment. Two other forms of periodontitis—prepubertal and juvenile—affect children and teenagers. These variations tend to be linked to a systemic disorder or a family history of periodontal disease.


Source: Dental Health for Adults: A Guide to Protecting Your Teeth and Gums. Copyright © by Harvard University. All rights reserved.


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