What is Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease is a dental condition that affects one in every two American adults of age 30 and above. Even though it is least considered, it is the main reason behind tooth loss in adults. Studies have also shown the connection between Periodontal disease and systemic diseases. It is linked to Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatic cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart diseases and more!
If you are wondering, “What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?”, you might be surprised to know you are already experiencing a few of them.
What is Periodontal Disease aka Periodontitis?
“Periodontium” means around the tooth, ‘itis’ means inflammation. Periodontitis, is the disease of the gum tissues and the jawbone that surround the teeth. It is an infection, if untreated will result in the loss of teeth.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in the plaque. The bacteria in the mouth bond with mucus and other particles and form a thin layer on the tooth surface called plaque. This plaque will harden if not removed by brushing and flossing. Hardened plaque is known as tartar.
Our body’s immune system will fight against these bacteria by releasing defense cells. This results in inflammation in the tissues around the teeth. 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)
- Systemic diseases
- Poor nutrition
- Clenching or grinding teeth
Stages Of Periodontal Disease
Initial stage – Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums without bone loss. This is a mild and reversible form of periodontitis. Plaque formation on the tooth causes inflammation of gums, without affecting the bone surrounding it. If it is taken care at this stage, we can prevent its progression to periodontal disease.
Advanced stage – Gingivitis becomes Periodontal disease when the destruction has reached the tooth supporting bone. The pocket formed from gum inflammation will deepen at this stage which in turn affects the bone. Eventually, due to loss of support, the teeth become loose and can fall out.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
- Bleeding gums while brushing and flossing.
- Swollen or tender gums.
- Gums that pull away from teeth.
- Pockets formation between teeth and gums.
- Loose or shifting teeth.
- Pus between your teeth and gums.
- Persistent malodor or bad taste in the mouth.
- Gap developing between your teeth.
When You Should See a Dentist
Most people don’t even know they have Periodontitis as it can be painless. With the help of x-rays, we can evaluate the periodontal health and treat it. If it is taken care at the right time, we can save your teeth and maintain your oral health. When was your last dental check up done? Are you experiencing any of the above said symptoms??
If yes, then it’s time to call up your dentist. We are here to help you prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease. Regular cleanings and check-ups will protect your teeth and gums from periodontal disease. Taking care of your periodontium not only improves your oral health but can also have a positive effect on your overall health.
Don’t wait to find out! Contact our dental office, Cumming Dental Smiles, at 770-205-0466 to schedule an appointment or visit us at www.cummingdentalsmiles.com
CREDITS: Kezia Varghese, BDS.