Nearly half of adults have some form of periodontal (gum) disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It ranges from mild inflammation to a type that causes bone damage and even tooth loss.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include chronic halitosis (bad breath), sensitive teeth, red or swollen gums, bleeding gums, and painful chewing.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
A major cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene habits. Your best defense is daily brushing and flossing plus regular professional exams and cleanings. Without vigilant prevention, plaque can form on the teeth and along the gumline. If this biofilm is not regularly removed, it can harden into a substance called calculus (tartar), which only a dental professional can remove.
When tartar continues to build, the risk of periodontal disease increases. Gums can become inflamed and begin to bleed from brushing, flossing, and eating certain foods. At this point, advanced treatment is the only way to prevent tooth loss.
Other factors that may contribute to periodontal disease include diabetes, smoking, and pregnancy. A healthy lifestyle and a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help ward off periodontal disease when combined with good oral hygiene.
Some prescriptions can aggravate gum inflammation. They include antiseizure, immunosuppressant, and blood pressure medicines called calcium channel blockers. Our doctor can provide preventive measures to alleviate medication side-effects.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
There are four levels of periodontal disease, ranging from gingivitis to periodontitis. In the most severe stage, gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets along the gumline. These spaces are difficult to clean without professional intervention and can lead to rapid worsening in overall oral health. Without prompt, expert treatment, periodontitis can destroy the jawbone, gums, and soft tissues.
Treat Gum Disease Early
Periodontal disease leads to more than tooth loss and jawbone thinning; research has linked it to several health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, arthritis, and even some forms of cancer.
Overall, the worse periodontal disease gets, the more intense the treatment. If you have symptoms of gum disease, contact our office to schedule a consultation. Our Annapolis MD cosmetic dentist can provide excellent care and refer you to a specialist if needed.