Periodontitis – A Major Cause Of Tooth Loss

Our Clapham dental team explain why it is not just tooth decay that should be avoided.

The chances are that if you asked ten people on the street what the main cause of tooth loss is, probably around nine of them would say tooth decay.

This is understandable as we are often told, as children, that sweets will ‘rot our teeth’. Decay is probably all too familiar for some of us who may have experienced painful toothache at some point in our lives!

Whilst dental decay is a serious matter and can cause both pain and damage to the teeth, even needing extraction where the tooth can no longer be saved; there is another issue which is responsible for more tooth loss than even tooth decay, and that is gum disease.


The most common, and probably best known, of gum health problems is gingivitis. Whilst once almost unacknowledged by the general public, toothpaste manufacturers now target this with new products aimed at reducing gum disease. These toothpastes can certainly help, but only if used as part of an overall gum health care programme, including regular hygienist visits. Gingivitis can be uncomfortable, with symptoms such as sore or bleeding gums, but, if treated early enough, is reversible and should cause little long term damage.


A more serious form of gum disease is periodontitis. This is much more aggressive and has long term implications for the health of our teeth. Some medical research has also indicated that it may play a part in other general health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease too. Once gum disease reaches this stage, it not only affects the gums, but often works its way to the roots of the teeth and into the bone which holds them in place. It is the damage brought on by periodontitis that can cause the bone to lose its hold of the teeth and cause them to become loose or fall out altogether.

The good news is that periodontitis can be prevented by taking good care of our gum health. Treatment is also available for periodontitis but this is a highly invasive procedure and one that may not always be successful.


For all the damage that it can cause to our oral health, it is actually very straightforward to prevent gum disease. Regular brushing is essential of course, and a little effort to add flossing or interdental brushing to our regimen plays a major part in this too and should not be skipped. Our patients in the Clapham area are also advised to see the dental hygienist at the Confidental Clinic so an overall check can be made of our gum health. However well we clean our teeth at home, there are always tiny pockets of bacteria that prove difficult to reach. Over time, these bacteria harden and can only be completely removed with a scale and polish treatment by our hygienist.

If you have not had your teeth and gums checked recently, please don’t delay and call the Confidental Clinic in Clapham today on 020 7801 9060.