Meta menu:

From here, you can access the Emergencies page, Contact Us page, Accessibility Settings, Language Selection, and Search page.

Open Menu

Periodontitis guide

  • Prevention and detection of periodontitis
  • Prophylaxis
  • Smoking and periodontitis
  • Periodontitis risk


You are here:

What is periodontitis and how do I recognize it?

Periodontitis is a disease of the periodontium, which includes the bone, gums and ligaments surrounding the tooth. Periodontitis is triggered by a dysbiosis of the bacteria that we naturally have in our mouth. This leads to an inflammatory response and a steady deterioration of the periodontium. Periodontitis is considered one of the new common diseases, along with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, affecting about 12% of the German population.

It is one of the silent diseases, which means that it only becomes visible at a late stage. Therefore, it is all the more important to prevent it and to make regular visits to the dentist.
Rare forms, which usually occur before the age of 30, can lead to tooth loss in a short time.

Gum inflammation (gingivitis) is always at the beginning of periodontitis. This can be easily recognized by frequent bleeding or swollen gums. Gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, especially if the immune system is weakened. The progression to periodontitis is difficult to detect. There are only phases in which the gums bleed more, there may be tooth loosening, changes in the position of the teeth, bad taste or bad breath.

Only when the disease progresses further does it become visible externally. By regularly measuring the Periodontal Screening Index (PSI), the dentist can detect periodontitis at an early stage and start a therapy that stops the disease and minimizes its consequences.

First signs and risk factors and of periodontitis

Periodontitis at a young age

Blick über die rechte Schulter eines grauhaarigen Arztes. Er blickt durch eine medizinische Apparatur auf das Gesicht eines kleinen Mädchens, dass ihm gegenüber sitzt.
Untersuchung Kind; © luckybusiness /

Periodontitis is a widespread disease that mostly affects adults over the age of 60. However, if periodontitis occurs at a young age, it is very aggressive and leads to rapid tooth loss. In order to detect and treat this form at an early stage, regular check-ups with the dentist are necessary.

Prevention is better than cure

Healthy gums

For some patient groups, it is especially important to pay attention to healthy gums:

  • Pregnant women
  • Patients with diabetes
  • Patients after kidney disease
  • Patients with cardiovascular diseases
  • Patients after organ transplantation

Why is it important to be healthy in the mouth?

The gum is part of the periodontium, which keeps the teeth in the mouth. The teeth are connected to the whole body via blood vessels and nerves. If bacteria get into our bloodstream through the mouth, they can be transported to our entire body. For this reason it is important to keep the inside of the mouth healthy.

How do I recognize healthy gums?

Healthy gums are not swollen and do not bleed. If bacteria are removed by regular and correct use of a toothbrush, interdental brush and dental floss, no inflammation can develop.


At the beginning of every periodontal therapy there is a detailed oral hygiene training, during which both a professional tooth cleaning is carried out and the correct cleaning of the teeth is practiced. With the help of the dental hygienist, patients learn which areas they need to clean particularly thoroughly and regularly learn about their success in practicing.

Periodontitis is associated with a recession of the gums, which is why the spaces between the teeth become larger and more food can be deposited between them. Therefore, regular prophylaxis and oral hygiene training is particularly important for patients with periodontitis.

Smoking and periodontitis

Why do smokers have an increased risk of periodontitis?

Tobacco consumption reduces blood flow

The ingredients in a cigarette cause the blood vessels to constrict, which leads to reduced blood flow. Especially the smallest capillaries are affected, which are the place for the escape of defense cells. As a result, inflammation cannot be fought as effectively as in non-smokers and periodontitis develops more quickly.

Tobacco use makes teeth wobble faster

Our teeth are attached to the bone with fibers that ensure that the teeth are optimally exposed to chewing forces. These fibers are regularly repaired and regenerated to adapt them to a different chewing situation, for example. Tobacco consumption prevents the regeneration of these fibers, which causes the teeth to become loose more quickly.

Tobacco consumption disguises gingivitis

Due to the reduced blood circulation, the gums still appear pale pink, which is related to the fact that tobacco consumption prevents the inflammatory processes from taking place properly. This leads to the fact that a periodontitis is recognized only late, when already a large part of the bone was degraded.

Periodontal therapy in smokers

Periodontitis therapy is more successful in non-smokers, as blood circulation is intact, fibers can be regenerated and the disease is usually easier to detect. For this reason, it is important to stop smoking before starting the therapy.

How healthy are your gums?