To understand periodontal disease, it helps to know that “periodontal” really just refers to your gums. While the symptoms of periodontal disease can start out mild, such as sensitive gums, it can quickly become a major health risk as the bacteria that cause it spread throughout the mouth. Florida Smiles Dental can help both prevent and treat gum disease.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Most incidents of periodontal disease are the result of not taking care of the teeth and gums. The American Dental Association urges everyone, adults and children alike, to brush two times each day and floss at least once. By not doing this, you can open yourself up to bacteria from what you eat and drink that linger in your mouth. Tartar accumulates, eroding your gums and even tooth roots. Other conditions and habits can exacerbate the effects of poor dental hygiene, including smoking, diabetes, being overweight, and being immunocompromised.
While coming in for your recommended biannual dental exams and cleanings is one of the best ways to both avoid gum disease and give a professional a chance to spot the symptoms, you should also know what to keep an eye out for. The earliest signs of periodontal disease are gums that are sensitive, especially when brushing. If your gums hurt to brush, especially when brushing lightly, and you see blood in the sink afterward, then you may be in the early stages of gum disease. As periodontal disease progresses and the bacteria eat away at the gums, your gum line will recede, making your teeth look longer and potentially uneven. You will have bad breath that does not go away. Finally, your teeth will start to loosen until eventually falling out.
In many cases, before you get periodontal disease you will get a similar but milder condition known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is the inflammation of your gums and catching it before it gets worse is key to preventing periodontal disease. If gingivitis is not treated, then it will eventually become periodontal disease. The gums will start receding and when you spit after brushing the water will likely be tinged pink or red with blood. Eating and drinking may cause discomfort. Eventually, the gums will begin to completely disintegrate as they are riddled with bacteria-filled pockets, and teeth will fall out.
While preventing periodontal disease is a matter of good oral hygiene, which can mostly be maintained at home, treating it will require professional intervention. Cleanings by a dental professional can reach places that standard brushing cannot. If the disease is more advanced, we may use non-invasive scaling and root planing to eliminate it. Once periodontal disease has progressed past a certain point, surgery like pocket reduction surgery may be necessary to restore your oral health.
If you have sensitive gums, then you may have periodontal disease or may be at risk for it. To learn what steps you can take to prevent this, and how Florida Smiles Dental can help, call 754-354-0363.