5 Things to Know about Periodontal Disease
Look in the mirror for a quick second and tell us what you see — are your gums red and swollen? Do they bleed easily? If you answered yes to these questions, then you may have gingivitis, the earliest stage of periodontal disease. Here are five things to know about this oral health problem:
1. Nearly half of Americans older than 30 have advanced periodontal disease – As mentioned, gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease. When left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis, the most advanced form of gum disease. In periodontitis, the gums may have abscesses. Permanent teeth may come loose and there is a change in the bite while the bones and gums recede.
2. Bacteria in the mouth causes periodontal disease – Before anything else, it must be said that not all bacteria are bad. In fact, only a small percentage of bacteria in the mouth are the harmful kind. When a person has poor oral hygiene, bad bacteria can grow and spread, leading to periodontal disease. This is the plaque or biofilm that accumulate in the crevices of teeth.
3. We become more prone to periodontal disease with age – Periodontal disease is a chronic disease, meaning it can progress over time. Because we become more prone to periodontal disease with age, the best way we can prevent gum disease is to maintain healthy oral habits. This is why at a young age, children must be taught good oral hygiene practices, to instill discipline and a healthy habit in them.
4. Bleeding gums is the most telling sign of periodontal disease – Some people think their gums bleed because they brushed too hard. However, the truth is, there could be other reasons besides that, one of which is periodontal disease. Aside from bleeding, periodontal disease can make the gums extra sensitive. You can also check for bad breath. If you have any of these symptoms, don’t sit on it and see your dentist immediately for a check-up.
5. Smoking is a leading risk factor for periodontal disease – Needless to say, poor oral hygiene can lead to periodontal disease, but factors such as smoking can and will get you there quicker. Smokers are more likely to develop periodontal disease. Studies also found that smokers showed more rapid bone loss.
Periodontal disease can have serious health complications. If your gums are giving you trouble, see your dentist to find out your options for treatment.