Periodontal disease is disease around the teeth that attacks gums, bone and other tissues. It starts with plaque, a sticky film made up of food debris and saliva as well as bacteria. When plaque is not removed, it becomes tartar, and together, these two substances can destroy gums and bone. Red, swollen and bleeding gums are a first sign of periodontal disease.
An amazing four of every five people have periodontal disease without realizing it. That’s because it’s painless and symptomless in the early stages.
In addition to being a primary reason for tooth loss, the latest studies indicate that that a strong link exists between periodontal or gum disease and other diseases, including stroke, diabetes, bacterial pneumonia, heart disease and pregnancy risks. Research is underway to determine if the inflammation and bacteria that are associated with gum disease impact systemic conditions. Smoking also clearly increases the risk of gum disease.
Sensible oral hygiene along with a balanced diet and regular dental visits can reduce the risk of periodontal disease and the associated issues.
Symptoms and indicators of periodontal disease include:
- Bleeding gums. Even when vigorously brushed or when using dental floss, gums shouldn’t bleed.
- Loose teeth. Caused by weakened periodontal fibers or bone loss, loose teeth are a serious problem.
- Increasing spacing between teeth. This is usually caused by bone loss.
- Constant bad breath. Halitosis results from bacteria in the mouth in many cases.
- Pus. When is found around the teeth and gums, this indicates a periodontal infection.
- Receding gums. This is an indication of loss of gum tissue.
- Red, puffy gums. This inflammation is never normal.
- Discomfort or tenderness. Bacteria as well as plaque and tartar irritate teeth and gums.