Inflammation is the body’s response to an infection, injury, or irritant. The purpose of inflammation is to protect the body by sending specific cells and chemicals to the site of injury to remove the cause and begin the healing process. The initial inflammatory response is rapid and pain, redness, and swelling are common symptoms. Removal of the cause will usually allow the body to finish the healing process. The body often needs help removing the cause. This can happen as a result of your personal oral hygiene, professional care, medications, or some combination of the three. However, when the cause remains, inflammation persists to become a chronic inflammatory condition. With chronic inflammation pain and swelling may or may not occur. However, chronic inflammation is relentlessly progressive although at a rate that is not consistent. The net effect is more and more destruction that may spread to affect distant parts of the body.

In terms of oral diseases, Inflammation is commonly associated with gum disease, tooth nerve death, apthous ulcers, cold sores and other conditions. Inflammation also plays a critical role in diseases that are not usually classified as inflammatory diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Recent research is exploring if inflammation of one disease or condition may affect another disease or condition. For example, we now know that people with diabetes will often get gum disease earlier and have it more severely than those without diabetes. In addition, severe gum disease can make in harder for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar which is a critical factor for avoiding other serious complications that occur with diabetes.