When it comes to your oral health, teeth often take center stage. Yet, your gums can also suffer when tooth decay builds up. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, can sneak up on you, significantly affecting your dental health and potentially leading to tooth loss.
Learning to recognize the clues that periodontal disease may be developing, then, is essential to maintaining your good oral health, and this includes knowing what symptoms you should never ignore.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a condition of the gums that can start off mild and, if left unattended, progress to a more serious one.
The disease itself occurs as the result of bacterial growth, which begins as plaque on your teeth. With good oral hygiene, including frequent brushing, flossing, and dental checkups, patients can keep the plaque in check. However, even with slight neglect, the plaque can build up, hardening under the gumline and leading to gum disease.
The first stage of periodontal disease is called Gingivitis. Gum tissue surrounding the base of your teeth becomes irritated and inflamed. You can help alleviate it by practicing good dental care at home and seeing your dentist for any additional treatments necessary.
When the inflammation persists without treatment, the more serious form of gum disease, called periodontitis, can develop. Pockets begin to form between the teeth and gums, and these pockets fill with bacteria and plaque, resulting in infection. Damage to the soft tissues can go on to damage the supporting bone structure.
5 Periodontal Disease Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
You can be the first line of defense when it comes to gum disease. In addition to brushing and flossing daily, be alert to any changes occurring inside your mouth. Instead of expecting these to simply subside on their own, schedule an appointment with your dentist to ensure you do everything you can to prevent or treat any developing gum disease.
Stay alert to the following five periodontal disease symptoms you should never ignore.
1. Swelling Gums
One of the most telling signs of gum disease is inflammation. This inflammation is the result of bacteria accumulating in your mouth due to plaque building up around the base of teeth and along the gumline.
As a result, a swelling of the gums and also a discoloration occurs, turning them varying shades of red. Accompanying this swelling is often gum tenderness and, if left untreated, can become severe.
An early, common sign of gum disease is your gums bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard, chewy, or sticky foods. This bleeding is a sign that plaque is already accumulating and beginning to form pockets between your gums and teeth.
As the plaque continues to build up, the gums turn red, begin to swell, and bleed whenever you go about your normal dental care routine.
3. Persistent Halitosis or Bad Taste in the Mouth
As the bacteria builds up in the gums at the base of your teeth, it may produce gasses or other odorous products in your mouth that lead to halitosis (bad breath). You may also experience ongoing bad tastes within your mouth.
While the causes for bad breath tend to vary, when it becomes persistent, you need to consider it as a serious warning sign of trouble. You may be experiencing tooth decay and also gum disease.
While you may occasionally experience tooth sensitivity when eating cold ice cream or sipping on hot coffee, if it becomes more and more common, it may be a sign you are developing periodontal disease.
As your gums begin to pull away from the teeth, as occurs with gum disease, the roots of your teeth and the nerves in the area become exposed. Then, when you consume hot or cold foods or beverages, you feel added discomfort.
Such sensitivity is not painful but can interfere with your daily routines and mealtimes.
5. Receding Gums
Another symptom of periodontal disease not to ignore is receding gums.
You may look in the mirror one day and notice that your teeth appear longer than normal or realize that your gums seem to be pulling away from your teeth, exposing more of the roots. This is called receding gums.
With receding gums, the spreading exposure of the roots of teeth creates new areas for bacteria to settle and can advance your gum disease to the more serious condition of periodontitis.
There are many causes for receding gums, including natural aging, genetics, and aggressive brushing. However, you should never rule out gum disease without the help of your dentist.
Why You Should Never Ignore Periodontal Disease Symptoms
Periodontal disease affects millions of patients worldwide today. Knowing the symptoms to be on the lookout for can help you improve, protect, and maintain your oral health now and long into the future.
If you notice any of the five symptoms above, never ignore them or think they will go away on their own. If left unattended and allowed to proceed, periodontal disease increases the risk of tooth loss and also the bacteria seeping into other systems of the body, potentially causing illness.
Contact Stiles Dental Care for all Your Periodontal and Dental Health Needs
Periodontal disease continues to be a leading cause of adult tooth loss, but if caught early, it can be treated effectively. Whether you are currently experiencing one or more of these five periodontal disease symptoms or need to schedule a cleaning, checkup, or other procedure, Stiles Dental Care is ready to help. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.