If you are suffering from periodontal disease, you are not alone. In fact, half of all adults in the US have some form of gum disease. Periodontal disease is contagious and poses a serious health risk. Not only is gum disease a primary cause of tooth loss in adults, studies indicate that it is also connected to heart disease and other systemic diseases. Gum disease is often painless and many people don’t even realize that they have it.
Causes of Gum Disease
Naturally occurring bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, continuously form a colorless, sticky “plaque” on our teeth. Flossing and brushing help but cannot completely remove this plaque which then hardens and forms “tartar” that can only be removed with professional cleaning. Plaque and tartar that is not removed can become harmful causing gum inflammation and bleeding, or “gingivitis.” Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis where the gums begin pulling away from the teeth, forming spaces that become infected. As the body’s immune system fights the bacteria, bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection will begin to break down and eventually destroy the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place.
Periodontal Disease Symptoms
Gum disease doesn’t usually appear before the 30s or 40s and men are more likely to have gum disease than women. Smoking or chewing tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors associated with periodontal disease and can also lower the chances of successful treatment. Hormonal changes in women, diabetes, other illnesses, certain medications and genetic susceptibility also play a role in the risk of contracting periodontal disease.
You may need to be screened for gum disease if you display any of these symptoms:
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth.
- Swollen and red gums.
- Gum sensitivity, tenderness, or bleeding.
- Pain while chewing.
- Loose or separating teeth.
- Teeth sensitivity.
- Receding of gums or teeth appearing longer.
- Any change in the way teeth fit together when biting or a change in the fit of partial dentures.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease
The sooner gum disease is treated the better so contact us if you are experiencing any of the symptoms. We begin with oral bacteria testing (with results in 2 weeks) to determine what is causing the problem and decide the best course of treatment. Successful treatment of gum disease includes behavior modification (such as quitting smoking), professional deep cleaning, medication, and surgery in extreme cases. With proper care care and treatment, gum disease can be successfully reversed.
Contact our Florissant dentist office near St Louis and Hazelwood MO if you are suffering from gum disease symptoms to discuss the best treatment options.