Periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease or periodontitis, is a common dental condition affecting over half of adults at some point in their life. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss in the developed world and is linked to health problems like arthritis, heart disease, certain cancers, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Your at-home oral hygiene regimen is the first and most important defense against gum disease. District Dental Solutions in Washington, DC can be your partner in the fight against periodontitis. Learn more about how you can take steps to protect your oral health.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is diagnosed when the gum tissues and jawbone become infected. If left untreated, the infection can lead to tooth loss. The bacteria causing gum disease can also spread to other areas of the body, such as the heart.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Bacteria are always present in our mouths, most of it harmless. These naturally-occurring bacteria combine with leftover food particles and mucus on the teeth to form plaque. The plaque that isn’t removed by brushing and flossing hardens and forms tartar.
The immune system releases defense cells to try to get rid of the bacteria, causing inflammation in the areas around the teeth. As the gums swell from the inflammation, they pull away from the teeth, which creates small pockets that allow more bacteria to settle in.
Gum disease is not necessarily the result of poor oral hygiene. Some other factors leading to periodontal disease include smoking, poor nutrition, stress, teeth grinding, or even hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause.
What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
- Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
- Pus between teeth and gums
- Chronic bad breath or constant bad taste in the mouth
- Swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- New spaces between teeth
Stages Of Periodontal Disease
The first stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis, which is when teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets, but plaque has built up on the teeth and the gums have become inflamed. Not all gingivitis progresses to gum disease. Removing the hardened plaque and paying extra attention to these areas when brushing and flossing can reverse gingivitis. Bleeding gums are usually a sign of gingivitis.
Periodontal disease is diagnosed when the destruction has reached the underlying bone. The pockets created by gum inflammation deepen and more gum tissue and bone are affected. Eventually, due to loss of support, the teeth can become loose and fall out.
When You Should See a Dentist
Many people don’t realize they have gum disease, which is one reason why regular appointments with your dentist are so important. X-rays allow your dentist to see the teeth and jawbone and ensure they are firmly in place. In most cases, gum disease can be prevented, offering lasting positive effects on your oral and overall health.
Periodontal Disease Treatment in Washington, DC
Dr. John and Jeremi Arroyo can help you prevent gum disease and offer periodontal screenings at every preventive visit. Regular cleanings and check-ups combined with minimally invasive treatments will protect your teeth and gums from periodontal disease for years to come. Don’t wait to find out if your bleeding gums are an early sign of gum disease! Schedule with us online or call us at (202) 955-5787 today.