Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and supporting jaw bone. It occurs when the toxins and acids contained in plaque irritate and inflame your gum tissues, and becomes progressively more severe and damaging when untreated. When diagnosed early (Gingivitis) and treated promptly, periodontal disease is completely reversible. However, if the disease progresses to a more severe stage (Periodontitis), there is no way to completely cure the disease, but with treatment, the disease can be controlled.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
There are many factors which may contribute to the development of periodontal disease, including:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Pregnancy and menopause
- Chronic stress
- Poor diet and nutrition
- Diabetes and other underlying medical issues
- Certain medications (including oral contraceptives, steroids, heart medication, and anti-depressants)
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
The earliest stages of periodontal disease are painless, and may go undetected for some time. This makes your regular visits to the dentist critical, as each routine dental checkup will include an exam for periodontal disease. Some common symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Gums that are red, swollen, or tender
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Changes in your bite
- Pus between the teeth
- Longer-looking teeth
- Gum recession or exposed root surfaces
We encourage you to learn more about periodontal disease and its connections to your overall health by using the links below:
If you have questions about periodontal disease, or to schedule an appointment at the office of Scott A. Smith DDS, please call us today at the phone number listed on our website. Dr. Smith will be happy to meet with you in a one-on-one consultation to examine your mouth and develop a treatment plan to help you regain a healthy smile.