Periodontal disease is a common dental condition that affects one out of every two American adults aged 30 and over. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the developed world. But it is presently thought to beyond teeth, and have been linked to Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatic cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and more.
Worried? Here are some of the things to look for:
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 developing between your teeth.
What Causes these Symptoms?
Periodontal means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease, also called periodontitis, is the disease of the gum tissues that surround the teeth and the jawbone that anchors the teeth in place. It starts with bacteria in the mouth, and, if untreated, it can end with tooth loss.
The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in plaque that is left untreated. 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 settle in.
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. It is a mild and reversible form of periodontitis, but not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. Plaque builds up on teeth and gums become inflamed, but teeth are still firmly planted in sockets. 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.
When to contact the dentist
Occasional bleeding can happen during brushing, when too strong brush stroke is applied to the teeth. However, strong brushing or not, it is a warning sign that something may be going on. Thus if you have any of the symptoms above, starting with any bleeding while brushing, contact your dentist for an evaluation. To be safe is much easier than to deal with the consequences of periodontal disease.
Surf City Dentist can evaluate the symptom and find out if this is a warning sign or a incidental, not to be worried about. We are a no-guilt practice. We can recommend oral care, but it is up to you, what you decide to apply to your overall health.