Gum disease — also known as periodontal disease — is a common dental condition that affects one out of every two American adults aged 30 and over.. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of lost teeth in adults in developed nations. However, the danger is to more than teeth, periodontal disease has also been shown to increase risks of Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatic cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and more.
Dr. Paul Davis, Dr. Dakota Davis and Dr. Laura Drennan of Davis Family Dental Care want you to know the signs of periodontal disease so you can have a healthy smile for a lifetime.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal means “around the tooth” in Greek. Periodontal disease, also called periodontitis, is the disease of the tissues that surround the teeth — the gums — and the jawbone that anchors the teeth in place. It begins with bacteria living in the mouth and causing infections in the gums, and, if untreated, it can result in tooth loss.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
The primary cause of periodontal disease is plaque-eating bacteria that irritate the gums if not removed from between teeth. Plaque is formed when the saliva and food particles in our mouths combine together and create a clear sticky substance that coats our teeth. The bacteria living in our mouth live live and feed on the plaque and the food particles in it. The plaque that isn’t removed by brushing and flossing can harden and form tartar, which can irritate gum tissue and can cause it to become inflamed and infected.
To rid our gums 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 and cause the tooth to become loose.
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 an inflammation of the gum tissue without loss of bone. A mild and reversible form of periodontitis, not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, but it certainly makes it more likely. In this stage, plaque accumulates on teeth and gums become inflamed, but teeth are still firmly planted in sockets. However, If left untreated, this inflammation can lead to gum disease.
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
The symptoms of gum disease can be painless and may not even be recognized. A periodontal evaluation complete with x-rays is the best method of diagnosing periodontitis so treatment can begin. If it’s been some time since you’ve been to the dentist, or if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s important for you to see your Davis Family dentist or local area provider as soon as possible. Treating your periodontal disease now not only improves your oral health but can also improve your overall health.
Davis Family Dental Care in Bedford, TX wants to help you prevent, diagnose, and treat periodontal disease. Regular cleanings and check-ups combined with minimally invasive treatments can protect your teeth and gums from periodontal disease. Your bleeding gums may be a sign of gum disease but don’t wait for the damage to be done! Contact us online today to schedule an appointment or call 817.382.8869.