How Do You Get Periodontal Disease?
Believe it or not, periodontal disease, or periodontitis, is linked to a number of very serious systemic health issues including heart disease and stroke. Keeping your mouth healthy is a critical factor in maintaining wellbeing for your whole body.
Periodontal disease stems from oral bacteria. While there a number of factors that can affect the accumulation of these bacteria, their growth often begins when food particles and traces of certain liquids are left in the mouth. When this happens, bacteria will begin to form and create a sticky film called plaque around where the teeth and the gums meet. Unfortunately, plaque carries bacteria that produce acids that are harmful to tooth enamel and gums.
If left alone for long enough, plaque will take in minerals from saliva. It will then harden and become tartar, forming around the gumline. Tartar is a rough substance which creates an even more inviting environment for bacteria to foster. In addition, tartar can only be removed by a professional cleaning. It’s best to prevent the accumulation of tartar by taking care of plaque buildup beforehand.
When plaque and tartar build up on the tooth surface just below your gumline, it causes chronic irritation, inflammation and infection of your gums. This is the initial stage of periodontal disease, and is called gingivitis. As periodontal disease progresses, your gums begin to pull away from the surface of the tooth root. This allows bacteria, food debris and waste products from your body’s immune system to build up even deeper in your gums.
As these “pockets” of infected material along the gumline increase in size, the underlying jaw bone is also affected by constant inflammation. It begins to deteriorate – becoming thinner and more porous. In some cases, it can erode so much that your teeth are no longer held firmly in their sockets.
Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease Include:
- Patches of redness along your gum line
- Bleeding gums when you brush and floss your teeth
- Gum tissue that is swollen, shiny, mushy or dry to the touch
- Receding gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose teeth
It should be noted that in the earlier stages of periodontitis, these signs may be difficult to notice. However, a dentist is very likely to spot gum disease and diagnose it early on. And since there is still a chance to reverse the damage that has been done to your gums in the initial stage of Gingivitis, it’s important to schedule regular checkups before your condition has a chance to worsen. If you believe you might be experiencing any of the symptoms of periodontal disease, contact us today to be properly diagnosed and treated.
Stay tuned for the next part of this series, where we’ll talk about steps you can take to prevent periodontal disease.