6 Signs That You May Have Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is more commonly known as gum disease. It is one of the most common oral health issues and is also highly preventable and treatable. Gum disease affects the soft tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth.
While it often progresses painlessly, the consequences can be severe if left untreated, potentially leading to tooth loss. Recognizing the signs of periodontal disease is essential for early intervention and effective treatment.
In this article, we will explore six key signs that may indicate the presence of periodontal disease. By knowing the early signs of gum disease, you can act quickly at the first sign of problems and then hopefully avoid some of the potential complications. Here are the six most common signs of gum disease:
1. Bleeding gums
One of the early signs of periodontal disease is bleeding gums. This is usually most noticeable during activities such as brushing or flossing. Healthy gums should not bleed easily, and persistent bleeding may be a sign of inflammation and infection in the gums.
If you spit blood when you brush your teeth or if you notice your gums bleed when you floss, this is a sign that something is wrong.
2. Persistent bad breath
Chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a sign of periodontal disease. The bacteria that cause gum disease produce toxins that can result in an unpleasant odour. Despite regular oral hygiene practices, persistent bad breath may indicate an underlying gum issue.
Unfortunately, you might be the last one to know about this symptom, as bad breath is often only obvious to those around you. If you notice an unpleasant taste in your mouth that won’t go away, ask someone you trust to tell the truth if you have bad breath.
3. Receding gums
Periodontal disease can cause the gums to recede or pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where bacteria can accumulate. If you notice that your teeth appear longer than before or that your gums are pulling away, it's crucial to seek dental attention.
Another sign of receding gums is when you often get food trapped in your teeth when you eat. If you notice a lot of food debris in your gums after a meal, particularly at the back of the mouth, this could be a sign of a wider issue.
4. Swollen or tender gums
Inflammation is a hallmark of gum disease. Swollen or tender gums, often accompanied by redness, may indicate an infection. Healthy gums should be firm and pink, so any noticeable changes should prompt a visit to the dentist.
If your teeth are more tender after you brush, this is a sign that you need to book a trip to the dentist for a checkup.
5. Changes in tooth alignment
As periodontal disease progresses, it can affect the supporting structures that hold teeth in place. This may result in changes in tooth alignment or the development of spaces between teeth. If you notice shifts in your bite or changes in the spacing of your teeth, it could be a sign of underlying gum issues.
6. Pain or discomfort
Periodontal disease can cause discomfort, ranging from mild gum sensitivity to more severe pain. This may occur during chewing, while brushing, or spontaneously. Persistent pain should never be ignored, as it may be indicative of advanced stages of gum disease.
In its most advanced stages, the gum tissue can recede to a point where the tooth is no longer supported. This can lead to your teeth becoming loose in the sockets and eventually falling out.
Why is early detection and treatment so important?
Early detection of periodontal disease is vital for effective treatment and preventing further damage. If left untreated, gum disease can progress to more severe stages, leading to irreversible damage, tooth loss, and potential systemic health issues.
Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings are essential for monitoring and maintaining oral health. While gum disease might be very common, it’s also easily avoided and highly treatable when caught early enough. Brushing and flossing twice a day and visiting the dentist at least once a year are often all that is needed to address gum disease.
How is periodontal disease treated?
Good oral hygiene is required to keep gum disease at bay. As you get older, the way you need to brush and care for your teeth might change. For example, the gums may recede naturally with age, and this will change the way you need to care for your teeth.
By visiting the dentist regularly, you can stay on top of these changes and ensure they don’t impact your oral health. If you do have active gum disease, you will likely be referred to a dental hygienist for a professional cleaning.
During this treatment, the hygienist will use special tools to clean between your teeth and below the gum line. This will remove plaque, tartar and bacteria from your teeth, which will help to protect your teeth from gum disease.
You may also need to make changes to your dental hygiene routine. If you aren’t flossing, you might need to start. If you are flossing ineffectively, you might need to add interdental brushes or tape floss to your daily routine to help remove food debris and bacteria from your mouth.
Using a mouthwash specially designed for periodontal disease will also help to protect your oral health. This can help with some of the symptoms of gum disease such as bad breath.
Maintaining good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, is key to preventing and managing periodontal disease. If you notice any of the signs mentioned, it's important to book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to discuss your concerns.
Timely intervention can help address the underlying issues, prevent the progression of gum disease, and preserve your oral health and overall well-being. Remember, early action can make a significant difference in the outcome of periodontal disease treatment.
If you think you might have gum disease, book an appointment with our team today.