Taking care of your oral health is just as important as taking care of your overall health. In fact, what many people don’t know is that they are both intricately connected. By taking care of your oral health you are also reducing your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and oral cancer. One of the leading factors to damaging your oral health is periodontal disease, or more commonly known as gum disease. Periodontal disease affects nearly 75 percent of American adults with the majority of them being completely unaware of it. It is important to understand the symptoms and causes of this disease to better understand how to treat and prevent this disease from damaging your health.
Periodontal Disease is caused by bacteria in plaque. If the plaque is not consistently removed the bacteria builds up and infects your teeth, gums, and lower gum tissue. This can also eventually damage the bone that supports your teeth which may lead to tooth loss if left untreated. The disease goes through three stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis; each stage being more damaging to your oral health the longer it goes without being treated.
It is important to know the symptoms of periodontal disease so that you may detect it early on and prevent future health problems. If you notice any of the following signs, see your dentist immediately:
- Red, tender, and swollen gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
- Constant bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
- Gum line receding, or gums are pulling away from teeth and forming pockets
- Pain when chewing, loose teeth or changes in bite alignment
With regular dental visits, dentists can detect developing periodontal diseases early, before the gums and the bone around your teeth are irreversibly damaged. So don’t wait till it hurts!
During checkups, your dentist will examine your gums for periodontal problems. An instrument called a periodontal probe will be used to determine if there is any breakdown in the gum tissue attachment or development of pockets between your gums and teeth.