Periodontal disease is a common dental condition that affects one out of every two American adults aged 30 and over which is no small number. In fact, periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in North America and Europe. But it goes beyond teeth, periodontal disease has also been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatic cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and more! You might be wondering, “What are some periodontal disease symptoms?” You may be surprised to learn you are experiencing a few of them yourself.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal means “around the tooth” in Greek. Periodontal disease, also called periodontitis or gum disease, is the disease of the gum tissues that surround the teeth and of the jawbone that anchors your teeth in place. It begins with allowing bacteria to flourish in the mouth, and, if not addressed, can end with tooth loss.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria that is left untreated feeding on plaque near our gum line and causing our gums to become infected. The bacteria in our mouths bond with mucus and other particles to form plaque on teeth. The plaque that isn’t removed by brushing and flossing hardens and forms tartar.
To get rid of the bacteria, our immune systems release defense cells that cause areas around the teeth to become inflamed. As our gums swell, they pull away from the teeth creating little pockets that allow more bacteria to access our gums and the roots of our teeth.
Other factors that could lead to periodontal disease include:
- Smoking/tobacco use
- Hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy, or menopause)
- Certain illnesses
- Poor nutrition
- Clenching or grinding teeth
Stages Of Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums without loss of bone tissue. At this stage, it is mild and reversible and not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. Plaque builds up on teeth and gums become inflamed, but teeth are still firmly planted in sockets. However, if left untreated, gum inflammation can lead to gum disease.
Periodontal disease is when the destruction has reached the underlying bone. The pockets created by gum inflammation deepen and more gum tissue and bone are affected. Eventually, due to loss of support, the teeth can become loose and fall out.
What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
- Gums that bleed easily while brushing and flossing.
- Swollen or tender gums.
- Gums that pull away from teeth.
- Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down.
- Deep pockets between teeth and gums.
- Loose or shifting teeth.
- Pus between your teeth and gums.
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth.
- New spaces develop between your teeth.
When You Should See a Dentist
Periodontal disease can be painless, leading some people to be unaware that they even have it. A periodontal evaluation complete with x-rays is the best way to diagnose gum disease so that proper treatment can begin. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, or if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, see your dentist soon. Seeking prompt treatment of your periodontal disease now not only improves the health of your mouth but can also have a positive effect on your overall health.
Russell Street Dental Associates in Worcester, MA wants to help you prevent, diagnose, and treat periodontal disease. Regular cleanings and check-ups combined with minimally invasive treatments can safeguard your teeth and gums from periodontal disease for years to come. Your bleeding gums might be a sign of periodontal disease. Don’t wait to find out! Contact us online today to schedule an appointment or call (508) 687-6579.