Periodontal Disease

The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Twenty to fifty percent of people have periodontal disease! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.

What is periodontal disease?

Gum disease can begin at any age. It develops slowly and may not cause any pain at first. By the time you realize that you have gum disease, you may already be in danger of losing your teeth.

Gum disease attacks the tissues that support your teeth. It often begins when plaque, a sticky substance filled with harmful bacteria, forms on your teeth and gums. If plaque isn’t removed by brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing and flossing and can cause pockets of infection to develop in your gums. Smoking, poor nutrition and certain medications are other common causes of gum disease.

Without treatment, gum disease will break down the tissues and bone that hold your teeth in place. Your gums will become puffy and sore and will slowly pull away from your teeth. Eventually, your teeth will become loose and may fall out. Gum disease can also lead to dramatic weakening of your jawbone.

Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
  • Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
  • New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
  • Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  • Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
  • Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.
  • Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
  • Tenderness or discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.

Health risks of gum disease

Through on-going research, gum disease has been linked to diabetes, heart disease and other inflammatory health conditions. Bacteria that cause gum disease can be inhaled into your lungs, causing infections or other lung problems. Gum disease may also make pregnant women more prone to premature births and low-weight babies. Scientists are continuing to explore the important connections between gum disease and the risk of chronic illness.

How is gum disease treated?

In the early stages, a visit to the dentist, a professional cleaning and improving your brushing and flossing techniques may be all you need to stop the advance of gum disease. However, if it is not discovered early, gum disease may require more serious treatment. Your dentist may have to remove the infected gum tissue or even take out a tooth to eliminate the problem. The best way to protect yourself against the risks of gum disease is to prevent it from developing in the first place. If you brush and floss regularly and see your dentist often, you may never have to worry about gum disease at all!

A thorough examination in the dental office is the only way to know for sure if you are suffering from gum disease. So please contact our staff at Dental Health Group to book an appointment today!

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