Q: Do I have gum disease (gingivitis and/or periodontitis)?
A: Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes discomfort, it is possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms. Having regular dental check-
Periodontal disease begins when plaque, a sticky, colorless, film of bacteria, food debris, and saliva, is left on the teeth and gums. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that inflame the gums and slowly destroy the bone. Brushing and flossing regularly and properly will ensure that plaque is not left behind to do its damage.
Apart from poor oral hygiene, there are several other factors that may increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
Smoking or chewing tobacco – Tobacco users are more likely than nonusers to form plaque and tartar on their teeth.
Certain tooth conditions – Crowns and bridges that no longer fit properly, crowded teeth, or defective fillings that may trap plaque and bacteria.
Many medications – Steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure medicines, oral contraceptives. Some medications have side affects that reduce saliva, making the mouth dry and plaque easier to adhere to the teeth and gums.
Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty – Can cause changes in hormone levels, causing gum tissue to become more sensitive to bacterial toxins.
Systemic diseases – Diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV / AIDS, etc.
Genetics may play a role – Some patients may be predisposed to a more aggressive type of periodontitis. Patients with a family history of tooth loss should pay particular attention to their gums.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss and movement of teeth.
Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
Receding gums – Loss of gum-
Tenderness or discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.
Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.