Periodontal disease is a condition caused by bacteria that affects the bones and gums above and below the teeth. This condition is often also referred to as gum disease. Periodontal disease typically goes un-detected while in its early stages, but as time goes on, its presence becomes more apparent due to various symptoms.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
There a number of warning signs that are often noticed after periodontal disease sets in. The severity of these symptoms almost always depend on the stage of the disease. These include:
- Tenderness, swelling, and redness in the gums
- Sensitivity when eating food, flossing, or brushing. The gums might also bleed during these activities.
- “Loose” gums (they often appear to pull away from teeth)
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- Changes in bite
- Chronic breath odor
It’s currently estimated that 75% of adults face periodontal disease at some point in their lives. Shockingly, this means that 3 out of 4 people will be affected by the condition before they die. Additionally, people at least 35 years of age are at a higher risk for losing teeth to periodontal disease rather than cavities.
The Effects of Periodontal Disease
If periodontal disease is left untreated, gum damage will set in over time, and bone loss near the teeth will begin to occur. The condition will worsen as time goes on, and it will eventually result in loss of teeth. You don’t want to let the disease advance too far if you want a chance at full recovery.
Periodontal Disease Causes
Plaque left over from food in the mouth produces harmful toxins that can inflame and irritate the gums. This is what causes swelling, redness, and bleeding. If the irritation is left un-acknowledged, the gums will begin to pull away from the teeth. This creates bigger spaces for bacteria to accumulate, worsening the condition. The bone and gums that support the teeth will begin to deteriorate. Once this happens, tooth decay will start to set in which eventually could cause cavities which could then lead to the death of a tooth. You should notice this by how your teeth suddenly change to a darker color and if your teeth tend to hurt. This process can be quite painful. If you are someone experiencing any of these symptoms then you will want to see a dentist as soon as possible for treatement.
There are many preventable and un-preventable causes for periodontal disease. Older people tend to be more at risk for severe symptoms due to being alive longer and having more time for the disease to progress. Common risk factors for periodontal disease include poor oral hygiene, smoking, stress, diabetes, hormonal changes, grinding of the teeth, certain types of medication, genetics, and weakened immune system. To prevent this disease, make sure you are brushing and flossing your teeth daily. More importantly, don’t forget to visit with your dentist twice a year.