Warning Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontitis, is one of the leading causes of tooth loss among adults. Periodontal disease also can affect people systemically and is associated with several other diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. In fact, scientists believe that inflammation caused by periodontitis may increase the risk of heart disease.

It’s important to know that gum disease is easily treated if diagnosed in the early stages.

When to see a dentist

Healthy gums are firm and pale pink. Signs and symptoms of periodontitis can include:

– Swollen gums

– Bright red or purple gums

– Gums that feel tender when touched

– Gums that pull away from your teeth (recede)

– New spaces developing between your teeth

– Pus between your teeth and gums

– Bad breath

– Bad taste in your mouth

– Loose teeth

– A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

There are different types of periodontitis. The most common is chronic periodontitis, which affects mostly adults, though children can be affected, too. Aggressive periodontitis typically begins in childhood or early adulthood and affects only a small number of people.

Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film composed mainly of bacteria, remaining around the gum lines of the teeth. Plaque forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria normally found in your mouth. Brushing and flossing your teeth removes plaque. But plaque re-forms quickly, usually within 24 hours. Bacteria in plaque produce acids and other toxins that can destroy bone and gum tissue over time.

If plaque is not removed, it will harden into a thick deposit called tartar. If tartar is allowed to remain on the teeth and below the gum line, it can lead to chronic inflammation and infection.

Continuing inflammation eventually will cause pockets to develop between your gums and teeth that fill with plaque, tartar and bacteria. In time, these pockets become deeper and more bacteria accumulate. These extensive infections cause a loss of tissue and bone. If too much bone is destroyed, you may lose one or more teeth.

The only way to remove tartar is to have your teeth professionally cleaned at your dental office. Contact the dentists at Perfect Smile Tulsa for an appointment to protect you’re your oral health.

Mark M. Davis, DDS General and Cosmetic Dentist in Tulsa since 1982

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