Gum disease (Periodontal Disease) can range from simple inflammation of the gums to more serious damage of tissue and bone that surrounds the teeth. Unfortunately, in a worst-case scenario, teeth can be lost. The good news is that gum disease can be arrested or slowed down with proper personal care and with professional periodontal care, where it’s required.
The fact is, every mouth is full of bacteria. The bacteria, along with other particles and debris, will form “plaque” on the surface of the teeth. And while brushing and flossing might remove surface plaque, there are numerous deposits that only professional cleaning can remove. Hence, regular visits to the dentist, and regular professional cleaning are the first steps in preventing gum issues.
When unattended, bacteria will cause inflammation of the gums – this is what the dentist calls Gingivitis. Gingivitis is a mild case of gum disease - the gums are red, sometimes swollen, and bleed easily. Here again, good personal maintenance and regular cleaning by a dentist can keep things under control. This type of gum disease does not present with tissue or bone symptoms.
When gingivitis is not properly treated (or diagnosed at an early stage) things can advance to a condition called Periodontitis. Clearly, this condition has already advanced beyond the gingivitis, with bone and tissue beginning to break down. Without proper treatment, the bone, gum, and tissue cannot properly support the teeth. This is where teeth become loose and require removal.
The signs and symptoms of gum disease
Usually, symptoms of gum disease don’t present until the ages of 30 or 40. Men are more likely than women to have symptoms, but for everyone, consistent oral health care is key. As well, regular dental exams are the ideal way to monitor the signs and symptoms of gum disease.
- Persistently bad breath
- Red/swollen gum tissue
- Tender/bleeding gums
- Pain during chewing
- Loose or sensitive teeth
- Visible receding gums