Periodontal disease is a common dental condition that affects one out of two Americans, 30 years old and older. Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the developed world. It doesn’t just affect your teeth, it has also been linked to Alzheimer’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Pancreatic cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. In fact, periodontal disease is known to CAUSE 25% of blockages of the arteries! Are you wondering what some of the symptoms of periodontal disease are? Dr. Doyle Freano, a dentist in Lexington, KY, describes the signs. You might be surprised to learn that you are already experiencing some of them.
WHAT IS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
Periodontal means the “structures around the tooth.” Periodontal disease, also referred to as periodontitis or gum disease, is a serious gum infection that damages the tissues surrounding your teeth and jawbone that anchor teeth in place. Beginning with bacteria in the mouth that leads to more serious infections in the roots and gums, if left untreated, can end in tooth loss.
CAUSES OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE
The main cause of periodontal disease is untreated bacteria in plaque. When combined with mucous and other particles in our mouth, plaque is formed. If the plaque is not removed on a daily basis with brushing and flossing it will calcify into tartar.
To kill the bacteria, our body’s immune response is to send defensive cells to these untreated areas. This causes the tissues to swell and pull away from the teeth, resulting in larger areas for bacteria to settle in. There are other factors that can lead to gum disease:
- Smoking/Tobacco use
- Hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy, menopause)
- Certain Illnesses
- Poor Nutrition
- Clenching or grinding of teeth
STAGES OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE
Gingivitis is the inflammation of gums without bone loss. It is an early stage of periodontal disease that is reversible. Not all gingivitis progresses into gum disease. When plaque builds up on our teeth, our gums become inflamed but are still firmly in their pockets. But, if left untreated, it can lead to gum disease.
Periodontal disease is when the destruction of underlying bone and structures has begun. The inflammation that has created the pockets around the teeth causes them to deepen, resulting in more gum tissue and bone support being affected. As a result, and loss of gum/bone support, teeth can become loose and fall out.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
- Gums bleed easily when brushing and flossing
- Swelling or tenderness of gums
- Gums that pull away from teeth
- Chronic bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Changes in bite
- Loose or shifting teeth
- New spaces developing between teeth
- Pus around teeth and gums
- Deep pockets between teeth and gums
WHEN YOU SHOULD SEE A DENTIST
Often, periodontal disease is silent. It’s not painful and some people don’t even know they have it. If it has been a while since you have been seen by a dentist and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should schedule an appointment soon. Taking care of periodontal disease now is not only beneficial to improving the health of your mouth and teeth, but it will also improve your overall health.
Dr. Doyle Freano In Lexington, KY would love to help you prevent, diagnose, and treat periodontal disease. Regular cleanings, check-ups, and minimally invasive treatments should be adequate to protect your teeth and gums from periodontal disease, but your bleeding gums might be a sign of gum disease. Contact us online for an appointment or call 859.296.9711.