Everybody wants a beautiful, healthy-looking smile. However, many people neglect proper tooth care like regular tooth brushing and flossing. This can lead to a dental condition called periodontitis or periodontal disease. This disease is an infection of the gum tissue that is typically caused by plaque buildup. It is usually preceded by gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums at the base of your teeth. Periodontal disease is common, but it can be prevented by taking proper care of your teeth. In this article, we will discuss how periodontal disease can lead to other dental problems.
Initial Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gum disease is common, affecting nearly 50% of U.S. adults. You may not have periodontitis, but it’s likely that you have gingivitis, which is usually the beginning of worsening gum disease.
Pay attention to your teeth to notice these signs of periodontal disease:
Redness and Swelling of the Gums
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease and it is the first sign that preventative measures need to be taken. The gum tissue around your teeth should be firm and pink, not plump and red.
The bacteria that accumulate on your teeth and cause periodontal disease are the cause of foul smelling breath. If you struggle with this even after brushing, it’s likely that you don’t floss enough, and harmful bacteria are still living in your mouth.
Along with redness and swelling, your gums will likely bleed easily when you brush your teeth if you have early periodontal disease.
The gum tissue at the base of your teeth begins to shrink away from the bone as gingivitis progresses into periodontitis. This is a sure indication of gum disease, and it is what will eventually create gaps between your teeth and gums, leading to tooth loss if not treated.
Effects of Periodontitis
Periodontal disease happens when plaque accumulates on your teeth near the gums and hardens, creating a bacterial biofilm. This causes the gum tissues to deteriorate and pull away from your teeth, leaving pockets between the teeth and gums in which bacteria can live and thrive. This is what leads to more dental issues that can be very harmful to your health.
The bacterial organisms that get between your teeth and gums eat away at the bone and tissues that support your teeth. This can lead to serious infections that cause tooth rot and bad breath. As your teeth rot away, they will eventually loosen and fall out. At its worst, periodontal disease can even cause necrosis, decay, and death of the gum tissue, since blood and nutrients do not make it to the infected area.
There are even more risks posed by untreated periodontal disease. The ongoing infection and inflammation of the gums coupled with the deepening of the pockets between your teeth, allow more and more bacteria to accumulate in your mouth. This puts unnecessary stress on your immune system, which is constantly fighting to kill off the harmful organisms in your body. If left alone, it’s possible that these bacteria can even enter your bloodstream, leading to serious complications with internal organs.
There are several factors of your health and habits that can increase your chances of having periodontal disease. It is important to maintain good oral health by having a consistent routine of brushing and flossing. You are at a higher risk for periodontal disease if you don’t floss or brush your teeth often enough. In addition, if smoke or chew tobacco, use drugs, or take certain medications, you could be more likely to get gum disease. Finally, some individuals may have hormonal or genetic predispositions to periodontitis that require regular treatment by a dental health professional. Ask your dentist about your risk factors and potential complications.
Trust Dental Group of Simi Valley
Proper oral hygiene is the only sure way to prevent periodontal disease. Brushing and flossing just once won’t do anything, but doing these things every day for only two minutes will prevent gum disease and can even reverse the early stages of it. Dr. Berger and Dr. Kin here in Simi Valley, CA, have decades of experience helping patients maintain healthy smiles with preventative oral care. We have been stopping periodontitis since 1963. To make an appointment, call us at (805)-522-6020 today.