Did you know that more than 40% of adults in the United States currently experience gum disease. That’s surprising enough, but what you may not also realize is that gum disease is caused by bacteria in your mouth.
If you catch your gum disease (also called periodontal disease) early, treatment from your dentist can get you back to optimal oral health. If, however, you avoid the dentist, your plaque and tartar can build up until you have a serious oral disease.
You probably want to keep your teeth and your good dental health, so here are a few basics about gum disease from the team at Mosaic Dental, along with some signs and symptoms to watch out for.
What is periodontal disease?
Everyone has some degree of dental plaque in our mouths. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on our teeth when the bacteria in the mouth combine with sugary or starchy foods. When we eat or drink, these bacteria produce acids that can destroy the enamel on our teeth and eventually cause cavities.
Regular brushing and flossing can get rid of plaque and prevent problems, but if you neglect these practices, the plaque will harden into tartar. It is much harder to remove and can cause gingivitis, which is the start of periodontal disease.
At this point, the acids and toxins produced by the bacteria in your mouth can cause inflammation of the gums and a worse form of gum disease called periodontitis. Left unchecked, this inflammation can begin to erode the bones that support your teeth.
Signs of periodontal disease
Here are some of the symptoms you need to be aware of through the stages of periodontal disease so you can catch it early and seek treatment.
Bleeding gums are the earliest sign of gingivitis. It usually happens when you brush or floss and sometimes just from the pressure of eating hard or chewy foods. If you seek dental treatment with our team at this point, you will prevent more serious gum disease.
Red, swollen, or tender gums
If you don’t get treatment and the bacteria cause an infection, your gums may become swollen and appear bright or dark red, or even slightly purplish. Your gums may feel tender, but you generally don’t feel pain in the early stages of periodontal disease.
Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
The bacteria in your mouth give off bad-smelling waste products that cause you to have bad breath and can leave a bad taste in your mouth.
As periodontitis progresses, your gums will begin to break down and pull away from your teeth. You may not notice this separation right away, but you may see that your teeth appear to be longer as your gums recede.
Pain while chewing
If you continue to ignore the problem, the bone supporting your teeth will start to erode, and your teeth may loosen, causing their position to shift slightly. If this happens, your teeth won’t fit together correctly when you bite down, and you may start to feel pain when you chew.
Don’t ignore the symptoms
Here’s why you should pay attention to the symptoms of periodontal disease: if you don’t deal with the problem, you may lose your teeth. If you catch it early, though, our team will be able to start treatment right away.
If you have any questions about dental symptoms or you want to schedule an appointment to discuss oral disease, call Mosaic Dental, located in Sterling, Virginia, or schedule your appointment online.