Periodontal disease is the number one cause for tooth loss in adults.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease (from perio “around” and dont “tooth”), is a common condition affecting millions of Americans. In a 1999 study, researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that half of Americans over 30 had bleeding gums.
Periodontal diseases are infections of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. In advanced stages, they lead to painful chewing problems and even tooth loss. Like any infection, gum disease can make it hard to keep your blood sugar under control. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, affects millions of Americans.
Simply stated, periodontal disease is inflammation of the tissues and bones that surround your teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can progress and result in the loss of teeth and bone. Periodontal disease is also a contributing factor in other medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
It is a painless infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and is the largest cause of tooth loss. Often, patients do not even know they have periodontal disease. Since it can lead to serious complications like tooth loss it is important that it is diagnosed and treated.
Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease include bleeding, swollen or tender gums, bad breath that doesn’t go away, loose teeth, pus between your teeth and gums, or a change in the way your teeth fit together.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque. Plaque is the sticky substance that forms on your teeth soon after you have brushed. In an effort to get rid of the bacteria, the cells of your immune system release substances that inflame and damage the gums, periodontal ligament or alveolar bone. This leads to swollen, bleeding gums, a sign of gingivitis (the earliest stage of periodontal disease). Damage from periodontal disease also can cause teeth to become loose. This is a sign of severe periodontitis (the advanced stage of disease).
Common signs of Gum Disease
- 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
- Changes in your bite or teeth alignment, loose teeth
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease Before it Starts?
Simple, everyday steps can also be taken to avoid gum disease growth, including:
- Brushing and flossing consistently at least twice a day
- Using an antimicrobial mouth rinse daily to help control plaque
- Scheduling regular checkups with Dr. Mahathi, Reston Dentist
Dr. Mahathi and her dental staff are specifically trained to diagnose, treat and help prevent gum disease.
The Stages of Periodontal Disease
Healthy Gums are firm, pink and do not bleed easily. There is no recession of the gums, and teeth are held firmly in place with no damage to supporting bone structure.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is caused by the accumulation of bacteria on the teeth and is easily reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Early Periodontitis: If gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. In the early stage, periodontal disease begins to destroy the bone and tissue that supports the teeth.
Moderate to Severe Periodontitis can lead to more bone and tissue destruction. The most advanced form of this disease includes extensive bone loss. Teeth often become loose and may have to be removed. Even in the moderate to severe stages there is often no discomfort associated with the disease.