Gum disease or periodontal disease is a very common condition where the gums become sore, swollen, or infected. In the United States, 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. The disease increases with age; 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease. Gum disease is often a result of poor hygiene; however, some people are more prone to these types of infections.
Risk factors for periodontal disease
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Poor oral hygiene
- Hormonal changes
- Deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals
- Certain medications
- Certain illnesses and conditions that lower immunity
Symptoms of periodontal disease
The symptoms of gum disease vary depending on how serious the condition is. It may cause any of the following symptoms:
- Unpleasant taste and smell
- Tender gums
- Red or purple gums
- Gum recession
- Pus between gums and teeth
- Loose teeth
- Change in bite
- Spitting out blood when brushing or flossing the teeth.
There are two types of gum disease:
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease and can be reversed with appropriate treatment. However, when the condition is ignored and not treated, it can turn into a more serious condition called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can be divided into four types according to its severity.
Gingivitis is an early form and less serious type of periodontal disease. It produces mild symptoms and is of two main types. Dental plaque-induced gingivitis occurs when plaque buildup irritates the gums and causes pain, inflammation, and discoloration.
Nonplaque-induced gingivitis can result from bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. It can also result from illnesses, allergies, or reactions to foreign bodies.
If not treated promptly, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more severe condition.
Periodontal Disease Stage 1:
In mild periodontal disease, the bacteria seep beneath the gums and affect the supporting bone. The gums may begin to pull away from the teeth and create pockets around them. Toothbrush and floss cannot reach these areas, so food, bacteria, and plaque can hide there. The surrounding bone becomes damaged due to bacterial toxins as well as the immune system’s response to the infection.
Periodontal Disease Stage 2
In moderate periodontitis, the symptoms become more severe. Inflammation spreads further, and there may be some discomfort. There is further loss of supporting bone and the gums also recede further. The bacteria begin to erode the soft tissues, bones, and ligaments that hold the teeth in place. It may cause pus and bad breath. The teeth loosen, and X-rays will show progressive bone loss around the teeth.
Periodontal Disease Stage 3
At this stage, there is a real risk of losing teeth. Severe periodontal disease manifests as bad taste and bad breath, and the teeth may start to look longer because of gum recession. The teeth may become loose. They may not fit together like before, and the bite may change. It can also cause painful abscesses. In the worst cases, which are also sometimes referred to as Stage 4 periodontal disease, people may already be missing some teeth, and the remaining ones may become loose. There is not enough bone or gum to support the teeth, and they become too weak to function.
Prioritize your oral health by understanding the significance of gum diseases. Timely consultation with a dentist is crucial for preventing complications and maintaining a healthy, confident smile.The only way to prevent gum disease is by maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. If you are having gum problems, visit your dentist promptly to prevent the progression of the illness. Our experienced dentist will offer comprehensive insights into the stage of your gum disease and present a range of treatment options tailored to your individual needs.