Periodontal disease is an extremely common disease that affects the oral health of one out of every two American adults aged 30 and over. That’s nothing to laugh about. In fact, it’s the leading cause of teeth lost in adults in the developed world. But it goes beyond teeth, periodontal disease has also been linked to increased risk of Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatic cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and more!
If you find yourself wondering, “What are some periodontal disease symptoms?”, you might be surprised to learn you are experiencing a few of them yourself. West Ashley Family Dentistry of Charleston, SC would like to take a few moments of your day to educate you about periodontal disease.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal — from the Greek word that means “around the tooth.” — disease is when an infection of the gum tissues that surround the teeth threatens the the roots of your teeth and the jawbone that anchors the teeth in place. More commonly known as gum disease begins with bacteria in your mouth and can end with tooth and bone loss.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
The primary cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in plaque that are allowed to feed on tooth enamel and irritate gum tissues. The bacteria in our mouths bond with mucus and food residue to form plaque on our teeth. The plaque that isn’t removed by brushing and flossing hardens on teeth, mostly at the gum line and in between, and forms tartar.
To rid itself of the bacteria, our immune systems release defensive cells that irritate areas around the teeth, causing them to become inflamed. As our gums swell, they pull away from the teeth, creating little pockets that allow more bacteria to enter and cause more damage.
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, this inflammation can lead to gum disease and worse.
Periodontitis starts with bacteria in plaque that is allowed to feed on tooth enamel and irritate gum tissues. The bacteria in our mouths bond with mucus and food residue to form plaque on our teeth. The plaque that isn’t removed by brushing and flossing hardens on teeth, mostly at the gum line and in between, and forms tartar.
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.
When You Should See a Dentist
Periodontal disease isn’t always painful; some people are probably living with it now and aren’t even aware they have it. A periodontal evaluation, complete with an x-ray is the best way to diagnose and treat gum disease. If it’s been some time since you’ve been to the dentist, or if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, see your dentist as soon as possible. Fighting back against gum disease now not only improves the health of your mouth but can also have a have a positive effect on your overall health as this illness has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, among others.
The team of dedicated dental professionals at West Ashley Family Dentistry in Charleston, SC wants to help you prevent, diagnose, and treat periodontal disease. Regular examinations and cleanings combined with minimally invasive treatments can help protect your teeth and gums from periodontal disease for years to come. Your bleeding gums might be a warning of gum disease. Don’t wait to find out! Contact us online today to schedule an appointment or call (843) 371-5480.