What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.
Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.
At Bay Breeze Denistry, Dr. Santana develops treatment plans according to each patient’s risk factors for developing periodontal disease. These risks can stem from causes as diverse as aging, genetic disposition, hormonal changes, and existing systemic diseases to poor habits like deficient nutrition and smoking.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
The most distinguishable characteristics of periodontal disease are changes to the look and condition of the gums. Signs that may indicate the presence of disease include:
- Bleeding gums – Healthy gums should not bleed, even after flossing or vigorous brushing.
- Discolored and swollen gums – Firm, pale pink gums are normal. Gums that appear puffy and either bright red or purple need evaluation.
- Bad breath – Spread of bacteria can lead to persistent bad breath.
- Tender gums – Gum disease can cause the gums to be more sensitive and tender when touched.
- Spaces between teeth – New spaces between the teeth can develop as periodontal disease impacts the supporting bone.
- Longer teeth – Disease can cause gums to pull back, or recede, making teeth look longer than normal.
- Loose teeth - Weakened bone and gum tissue lead to teeth that move easily with little to no pressure applied.
- Pus formation – Areas filled with pus between the teeth and gums signal infection due to advanced periodontal disease.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, seek out professional evaluation as soon as possible.
Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Prompt and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment makes all the difference when it comes to treating periodontal disease. Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.
At Bay Breeze Denistry, Dr. Santana develops treatment plans according to each patient’s risk factors for developing periodontal disease. These risks can stem from causes as diverse as aging, genetic disposition, hormonal changes, and existing systemic diseases to poor habits like deficient nutrition and smoking. If you are ready to learn more about attaining optimal dental health, call our Portsmouth dental practice to schedule an appointment with Dr. Santana and the Bay Breeze Dentistry team.
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