Nearly half of American adults over age 30 have had some form of periodontal disease, also called gum disease, at some point in their lives. It is a serious condition that can lead to health problems extending beyond just your mouth, and gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the developed world. There are some daily steps you can take to prevent gum disease, but first, take some time to learn more about the causes and symptoms with Dr. Gianni Franceschi of Smiles of Trinity Dentistry.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease, also called periodontitis, is the disease of the gum tissues that surround the teeth and the jawbone that anchors the teeth in place. It starts with bacteria in the mouth, and, if untreated, it can end with tooth loss.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in plaque that is left untreated. The bacteria in our mouths bond with mucus and other particles to form plaque on teeth. The plaque that isn’t removed by brushing and flossing hardens and forms tartar.
To get rid of the bacteria, our immune systems release defense cells that cause areas around the teeth to become inflamed. As our gums swell, they pull away from the teeth creating little pockets that allow more bacteria to settle in.
Other factors that could lead to periodontal disease include:
- Smoking/tobacco use
- Hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy, or menopause)
- Certain illnesses
- Poor nutrition
- Clenching or grinding teeth
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
- Gums that bleed easily while brushing and flossing.
- Swollen or tender gums.
- Gums that pull away from teeth.
- Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down.
- Deep pockets between teeth and gums.
- Loose or shifting teeth.
- Pus between your teeth and gums.
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth.
- New spaces developing between your teeth.
Daily Steps to Prevent Gum Disease
Periodontal disease can be painless or hard to detect, and some people do not know they have it. Daily brushing and flossing is the most important step in fighting gum disease and preventing it from occurring in the first place. Your at-home oral hygiene routine is just as, if not even more, important than your dental check-ups. If it has been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, or if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, see your dentist soon. Taking care of your periodontal disease now not only improves the health of your mouth but can also have a positive effect on your overall health.
Contact Dr. Franceschi online today to schedule an appointment or call 727.376.6969.