Do your gums look red and swollen? If you don’t seek professional help from a dentist in Zebulon, the problem will only worsen. It’s just a matter of time before it escalates into something more serious. When your gums bleed easily, there’s a good chance you may have gum disease.
Unfortunately, without treatment, this can quickly progress into periodontitis. Periodontitis is a severe gum infection that can cause significant damage to your gum tissues. As the disease advances, it will also destroy your jawbone and teeth. Over time, periodontitis can result in tooth loss.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47.2% of adults ages 30 and above are diagnosed with periodontal disease. How do you know if you have periodontitis? You won’t unless you see a dentist and get a proper diagnosis.
Understanding the Symptoms and Causes of Periodontitis
What Are the Symptoms of Periodontitis?
How do you differentiate healthy gum tissues from gums that are infected? Healthy gums should have a pale pink color and fit tightly around each tooth. But, if you have periodontitis, your gums could show the following symptoms:
- Puffy and swollen
- The color is bright red or purplish
- Your gums will feel tender when touched
- They bleed easily when you floss
- You’ll notice blood on the bristles of your toothbrush after brushing
- Bad breath
- Spit out blood after brushing or flossing
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Develop new spaces between your teeth
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Gum recession that makes your teeth look longer than usual
- A change in your bite
What Can Cause Periodontitis?
The leading cause of periodontitis is plaque buildup. Your mouth constantly forms plaque, which is why you need to brush and floss daily to remove plaque and prevent its accumulation. Plaque is a sticky film that consists of bacteria.
When plaque is allowed to stay in your mouth for more than 24-72 hours, it will harden into tartar. Tartar will inevitably cause gum irritation, inflammation and ultimately infection leading to gum disease. Failing to get treated can result in periodontitis.
- When you eat or drink, the starches and sugars will interact with your oral bacteria. Brushing two times a day and flossing once daily can help remove plaque. However, keep in mind that plaque forms quickly, so you need to be consistent with your brushing and flossing to stop plaque from accumulating.
- If plaque stays on your teeth, it can calcify under your gumline. Unfortunately, you cannot get rid of tartar on your own. Only professionals can scrape off tartar.
- Plaque accumulation can lead to gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Patients with gingivitis will have red, irritated, and inflamed gums at the base of their teeth. Luckily, with treatment and consistent oral care, gingivitis can still be reversed.
- Persistent gum inflammation will eventually result in periodontitis. At this stage, gum pockets will start forming between your teeth and gums. Inside these pockets are where plaque, bacteria, and tartar will hide. Over time, these pockets will grow deeper and more, accommodating more bacteria. Without treatment, the infection can cause severe damage to your gums and the bone supporting your teeth. Chronic inflammation can also negatively impact your immune system.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Several factors can increase your susceptibility to periodontitis, such as:
- Poor dental hygiene practices
- Chewing or smoking tobacco
- Hormonal changes such as in menopause or pregnancy
- Use of recreational drugs
- Poor nutrition
- Vitamin C deficiency
- Certain medications that can cause gum changes
- Medical conditions such as Chron’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
When Should You See a Dentist?
Ideally, you are required to visit your dentist once every six months for a regular checkup. However, if you notice changes to your gums indicative of gum disease, make an appointment immediately. The sooner you have it checked, the earlier it gets treated. There’s also a good chance that the damage can still be reversed so that it doesn’t lead to periodontitis.
Can You Prevent Periodontitis?
The good news is that you can prevent periodontitis as long as you establish an oral care routine; this means you have to be conscientious with your brushing and flossing habits and see your dentist regularly.
- Proper Dental Hygiene – Brush your teeth for two minutes at least two times a day. Once in the morning and the second one before retiring to bed. Dentists prefer you floss once daily at night. Flossing is still necessary even if you are meticulous with your brushing strokes.
The bristles in your brush cannot effectively remove food particles and plaque in the tiny spaces between your teeth. Only your floss can do that. Once you establish good oral hygiene, you significantly reduce your risk of gum disease.
- Visit Your Dentist – How often should you visit your dentist? If your teeth and gums are in great shape, you only need to have one appointment every six months, but if you show signs of gum disease, your dentist may recommend more frequent visits.
Looking for a Reliable Dentist in Zebulon?
At Tyron Family Dentistry, we take pride in our team of dentists who all have impressive credentials. Our goal is to build long-term relationships with you. We aim to provide personalized treatments so you can achieve your dental goals. Our office is clean, modern and fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology to give you a comfortable experience. Contact us today.