You may have periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, and not know it until it has progressed to its advanced stage. Prompt treatment is essential because the condition can only be reversed in its early stages. Still, because it shows few, if any, symptoms until it has progressed, many people wait too long to seek treatment.
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Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. It develops when the bacteria found in plaque buildup between the teeth and gums. As the bacteria grow, the gums can become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. When periodontal disease is not treated promptly, it gets worse, leading to increased gum recession, infection, and bone loss.
The Stages of Periodontal Disease
Gum disease is broken down into four stages: gingivitis, slight periodontal disease, moderate periodontal disease, and advanced periodontal disease. The longer it progresses, the more difficult it is to treat.
Gum disease also impacts overall health. Research has found links between periodontal disease and diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other serious inflammatory conditions. Researchers are not sure whether gum disease contributes to other health problems or vice versa, but many studies have shown conclusive evidence that oral and bodily inflammation are related.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
To help prevent periodontal infection, it is essential to practice excellent oral hygiene. This includes brushing twice a day for two minutes each, flossing, swishing with mouthwash, and scheduling regular dental examinations.
While periodontal disease is common, it is tied to certain risk factors: age, genetics, stress, tobacco use, medications, obesity, teeth grinding (bruxism), and certain inflammatory diseases.
While symptoms may not appear until later stages of the disease, it is important to watch for the warning signs of gum disease. Some of these include:
● Red, swollen, or tender gums
● Bleeding gums from brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods
● Loose or separating teeth
● Pus between gums or teeth
● Mouth pain or sores
● Chronic bad breath
● Gums receding or pulling away from teeth
● Changes in your bite or the fit of dentures
Periodontal disease may start silently, but it can lead to great damage if it is left untreated. Once it has progressed, it can be treated but not fully cured. The best way to guard against it and protect your health is to visit your dentist for a periodontal screening. For more information about gum disease and to schedule your screening, contact our 12866 dental office today.