The gums are one of the most vital structures in the mouth. They support the teeth, protect the roots and jawbone, and help anchor them in place. Despite this crucial function, they often take a backseat when it comes to oral hygiene, behind the teeth.
As a result, the lack of proper attention given to the gums can cause any number of complications, starting with gum disease. Also known as periodontal disease, this condition often goes undetected, especially when you don’t know what signs to look out for, and without regular visits to your periodontist in Mississauga.
That’s what we’re here to change. Whether you suspect that there’s something wrong with your gums, or you admit that you haven’t been paying attention to them as much as you should, it pays to know all about the signs and symptoms of gum disease to watch out for.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease affects the gums due to infections and inflammation. It is a condition that damages the gums that support the teeth, eventually affecting the jawbone as well.
In its early stages, it’s known as gingivitis. During this time, the gums appear swollen and red, and they can bleed when you brush and floss. When periodontal disease progresses and it’s left untreated, it becomes periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease. At this stage, the gums can start to pull away from the teeth, which can cause the teeth to loosen and even fall out, as well as the jawbone to be damaged.
Complications Caused by Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is one of the most common oral conditions that affect the gums, and eventually the teeth and jawbone. However, it is preventable and its progression can be stopped with early detection, treatment, and improvements to your oral hygiene and lifestyle habits.
When left untreated, periodontal disease can develop into periodontitis. Aside from eventually leading to tooth loss, the same bacteria that causes periodontitis can also enter the bloodstream through the gums. This can cause problems in various other parts of the body, with periodontal disease being linked to heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, preterm birth and low birth weight, and a host of other complications.
How to Know if Your Gums are Healthy
Not sure if you have started to develop periodontal disease? The most common indicators of healthy gums include firm tissue and no bleeding when you brush or floss. Plus, your gums tend to be a light pink colour, and the teeth are not loose, meaning the gums fit snugly around them.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
One of the biggest factors that cause periodontal disease to evolve into periodontitis is the amount of time that takes place before it’s even diagnosed. Most people simply don’t know what to look for and how to tell if they have developed periodontal disease.
Whether you’re checking your gums at home or your periodontist is doing so when you visit them in Mississauga, these are the most common signs of periodontal disease to keep an eye on:
- Gums that look swollen or puffy
- Gums that are bright red, dark red, or dark purple in colour
- Gums that feel tender to the touch
- Gums that bleed easily, especially while you are brushing and flossing
- Your toothbrush looks pink after you brush your teeth or you are spitting out blood during your oral hygiene routine
- You have halitosis or bad breath that won’t easily go away
- Your teeth feel loose or you start to lose them
- It hurts or feels uncomfortable when you bite and chew
- The gums start pulling away from the teeth, which makes your teeth appear longer than they are, known as gum recession
- There are spaces between your teeth that develop and appear like little black triangles
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease develops over time as plaque and tartar are left uncleaned from beneath the gum line and between the teeth. When these build up, they only cause periodontal disease to worsen, eventually leading to the severe effects of periodontitis.
Let’s look at this cause in detail and see how periodontal disease develops:
Plaque and Tartar Buildup
As mentioned earlier, gum disease develops when plaque forms on your teeth and teeth and gums. Plaque is caused by starches and sugars in food that interact with bacteria commonly found in the mouth. Over time, it hardens under the gum line, developing into tartar, which becomes more difficult to remove, often requiring a professional cleaning by your periodontist in Mississauga.
In the early stages of gum disease, gingivitis causes irritation and swelling of gum tissue around the base of the teeth. When left untreated, this ongoing inflammation can lead to periodontitis. A severe form of periodontal disease, periodontitis causes pickets to form between the gums and teeth where plaque continues to grow, thus causing the pockets to enlarge, eventually leading to tissue, bone, and tooth loss.
Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is highly preventable with good oral hygiene habits. However, certain risk factors can increase your likelihood of developing the condition, which you should watch out for. These include:
- Poor oral health and hygiene
- Smoking and chewing tobacco
- Use of recreational drugs
- Obesity and poor nutrition, including low vitamin C intake
- Genetic factors
- Hormonal changes, including those related to pregnancy and menopause
- Medication that cause dry mouth and affect the gum tissue
- Medical conditions that weaken the immune system, including cancer, leukemia, and HIV/AIDS, as well as other health conditions like diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Talk to Our Periodontists About Periodontal Disease Treatment
Periodontal disease has a number of adverse effects on both your oral and overall health. You need to stop it in its tracks. How? By knowing the signs and symptoms to watch out for. Here’s where Periodontal Associates can help.
Our periodontists in Mississauga are dedicated to treating periodontal disease in its earliest stages. Through early detection and treatment, we can help you restore the health of your gums and prevent serious complications, such as severe periodontal disease or periodontitis. Our periodontists in Mississauga recommend regular periodontal care to ensure this and reduce your chances of developing devastating gum disease.
Do you have the signs of periodontal disease? Get early treatment to prevent further progression. Visit our periodontists in Mississauga today.