Half of Americans have periodontal disease. Research is also showing the undeniable contribution of gum disease to systemic disease. Diabetes, stroke, heart disease, low birth weight, and dementia have all shown strong connections to the health of the gums.
What Is Gum Disease?
Over time plaque hardens into tartar, which can irritate gums so much they begin to pull away from the teeth.
If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, or if you find that you are unable to get rid of bad breath, it may be a sign of periodontitis.
Gum disease signs and symptoms include:
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Red or puffy gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
What if Periodontitis Goes Untreated?
If left untreated gum disease can have devastating effects on your oral and overall health. Some long-term effects include:
- Recession of gums
- Loss of teeth
- Loss of bone
Gum disease can contribute to or intensify systemic issues like diabetes and heart disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is an oral infection that develops from excess bacteria in your gum tissue. It’s caused by inadequate oral hygiene, such as not brushing and flossing every day or neglecting your regular dental checkups.
As plaque builds up in your teeth, it can spread through your gum tissue and cause an infection, increasing your risk for a variety of other health issues.
There are two primary stages of gum disease:
- Gingivitis — This is the early stage of gum disease when your infection is still mild and easily reversible. Most patients don’t experience any noticeable symptoms at this point, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs of redness or inflammation in your gum tissue.
- Periodontitis — Without treatment, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, a more advanced stage of gum disease that involves red, swollen gums and pockets forming between your teeth. It’s crucial to treat periodontitis as soon as possible, before it results in tooth loss, cardiovascular issues, and other health conditions.
If your condition is still in the gingivitis stage, you can probably eliminate the infection with improved brushing and flossing at home. If this doesn’t work, Dr. Huff can provide a deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing.
Once your infection progresses to periodontitis, treatment becomes more difficult. At this stage, surgical intervention is often necessary. Dr. Huff uses the pinhole surgical technique to provide fast, minimally-invasive treatment with an easy recovery.