Gum disease, clinically referred to as periodontal disease or periodontitis, is a common dental condition affecting one out of two adults over 30. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss in the developed world and is linked to several health problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, pancreatic cancer, stroke, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Your at-home oral hygiene regimen is the first and most important defense against gum disease. Ridgetop Dental Group in Reston, VA can be your partner in the fight against periodontitis. Learn more about how you can take steps to protect your oral health.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is the infection of the gum tissues and jawbone. Oral bacteria can work their way into gum tissue and activate the body’s immune response, leading to inflammation. These bacteria can also spread to other areas of the body, such as the heart or brain.
Gum Disease is Caused By Bacteria
Most of the bacteria in our mouths are harmless and naturally-occurring. They feed off of leftover food particles, mucus, and other particles present in saliva to multiply and eventually form plaque. The plaque that isn’t removed by brushing and flossing hardens to become tartar, which cannot be removed by brushing.
In response to this bacteria buildup, the immune system activates its immune response, which causes inflammation around the teeth. As the gums swell from inflammation, they create small pockets which allow more bacteria to settle in.
Some other factors that put people at higher risk of gum disease include smoking, stress, teeth grinding, poor nutrition, or even pregnancy and menopause.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease, and many of us already experience this occasionally. It is a mild and reversible form of periodontitis, but it does not always lead to full-on gum disease. Plaque builds up on the teeth and inflames the gums, but there is no bone loss yet.
When the infection has reached the underlying bone, the patient is diagnosed with periodontal disease. Gum inflammation creates even bigger pockets for bacteria to settle into, which can eventually reach the bone. Eventually, teeth become loose and fall out.
Periodontal disease can be painless; some people don’t even know they have it. A periodontal evaluation with x-rays is the best way to find and treat gum disease. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, or if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, see your dentist soon. Taking care of your periodontal disease now not only improves the health of your mouth but can also have a have a positive effect on your overall health.
What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
- Gums that bleed easily while brushing and flossing.
- Swollen or tender gums.
- Gums that pull away from teeth.
- Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down.
- Deep pockets between teeth and gums.
- Loose or shifting teeth.
- Pus between your teeth and gums.
- Persistent bad breath or a constant bad taste in the mouth.
- New spaces developing between your teeth.
Gum Disease Treatment in Reston, VA
Ridgetop Dental Group provides comprehensive preventative dentistry for the whole family. Regular cleanings and check-ups combined with minimally invasive treatments will protect your teeth and gums from periodontal disease for years to come.
Your bleeding gums might be a sign of periodontal disease. Don’t wait to find out! Contact us online today to schedule an appointment or call us.