Gum disease is an inflammatory dental condition that occurs when the sticky plaque that forms on our teeth spreads onto the gum tissue. You may also hear of it referred to as periodontal disease, gingivitis, or periodontitis. It is actually just as common, if not more so, than dental cavities. It is usually only referred to as periodontitis in its most advanced form when the retention of the teeth is seriously under threat.
Gum disease is most often seen in patients with poor dental hygiene. These individuals either fail to brush their teeth for the recommended amount of time needed to remove all the plaque from their teeth, or fail to use the right techniques for their brushing to be effective. When the plaque isn’t removed, it spreads onto the gums and can cause irritation and infection that characterizes the beginning of gum disease.
Why It’s Important To Treat Gum Disease
Although gum disease may not sound serious, this progressive disease has the potential to have very serious consequences if it reaches advanced stages. This is because the infection will start to attack the structures supporting the teeth. These are the gums, connective tissues, and even the jawbone itself. This could lead to teeth falling out or requiring extraction.
Researchers have also found an indisputable link between advanced gum disease and some chronic health conditions affecting the body. This is because bacteria causing periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream, travel around the body, and reach the major organs responsible for health. Patients who have advanced gum disease could be at greater risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney/liver disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.
Dentists recommend being aware of the signs of gum disease so that it can be identified and treated as early as possible. This could prevent damage to your teeth and oral and overall health.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Gum Disease?
In the early stages, the signs of gum disease are easily overlooked or ignored, and this means that many patients wait until the disease has progressed to a more advanced stage. However, that’s not to say that there are no symptoms to be aware of. If you notice any of the following, we recommend that you make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible:
Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, floss, or eat hard foods
As the condition progresses, other symptoms that you may begin to notice could include:
Gums that seem as though they are receding and pulling away from your teeth
Gums that persistently bleed when you brush/floss/eat
Pus between your gums and teeth
Sores in your mouth
Persistent bad breath
Changes in the way that your teeth fit together when you bite down
Dentures suddenly not fitting the way that they did before
Teeth that seem loose or are separating
If you are concerned that you may have any stage of gum disease, it is essential that you visit your dentist as soon as possible. In the earliest stages, it may even be possible to reverse your gum disease and keep your oral health in the best possible condition. Your dentist will be happy to speak to you about your treatment options.
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of gum disease, get in touch with our expert dental team at Stephanie R. Ricks Family Dentistry in McComb, Mississippi by calling (601) 258-8230.