What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is often referred to as gum disease. Bacteria infects your mouth and left unattended, it can destroy your gums and cause tooth decay. In some cases you could lose your teeth completely.
Periodontal disease usually starts out mild with sensitive inflamed gums. If it isn’t treated quickly, it can develop further—your gums will start to pull away from your teeth making it even easier for bacteria to spread. Eventually this can damage the connective tissue in your mouth and cause tooth decay.
Signs of periodontal disease include:
- Swollen, red, or sensitive gums
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth
- Chronic bad breath
- A persistent bad taste in your mouth
- Receding gums
- Sensitive teeth
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by bacterial infections in the mouth. Bad oral hygiene is one of the most significant factors in the development of periodontal disease. In many cases it can be prevented by brushing your teeth after meals, flossing every single day between every single tooth, and avoiding foods and beverages that damage your enamel like soda and sticky candy.
Unfortunately, good oral hygiene can significantly lower your risk for periodontal disease, but it can’t completely eliminate the risk. People who are pregnant, diabetic, taking specific medications, or being treated for cancer have an increased risk for periodontal disease, even with good oral hygiene habits. If you are at a higher risk for the disease, pay extra care to your habits and visit your dentist regularly.
How Do You Treat Periodontal Disease?
If you catch periodontal disease early, it can usually be treated and your teeth can be saved. The treatment will depend on the progression of the disease. Your dentist will likely start with a very thorough cleaning of your teeth—other treatments sometimes include:
- Tooth extraction
- Medication prescription
- Oral surgery