Despite the ease with which this infection can be prevented, one of the more pervasive diseases in the US today is Periodontal Disease, more commonly known as gum disease. As your Littleton area Prosthodontist, it grieves us greatly to know so many patients suffer from tooth loss because of this largely preventable oral disease, simply because of poor oral hygiene, or from smoking cigarettes.
The most recent studies estimate that up to 12% of adults in the US, or about 28 million, suffer from “advanced gum disease,” while some 25% of adults over the age of 65 have lost all of their teeth, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Study on Oral Health. These studies also link oral infections to other health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
What is gum disease?
Everyone has a mouth full of bacteria which, along with saliva, is part of the process by which we begin to break down the food we eat. However, without regular brushing and flossing, these bacteria will combine with mucus in your mouth to form plaque on your teeth. When plaque remains on your teeth, it develops into tartar, both of which can lead to infection when not removed. A mild infection of your gums is known as Gingivitis, while a more severe infection is known as Periodontitis, or gum disease.
This infection, caused by bacteria beneath your gums, may then begin to destroy your gums and the underlying bone. This leads to loose teeth and difficulty chewing, and may eventually lead to the loss of your teeth; requiring expensive tooth replacement therapy.
Symptoms of gum disease
As with so many infections, the symptoms of gum disease may seem a minor irritation at first, and quite normal to a smoker, but they may soon progress to more serious problems, leading to embarrassment, discomfort, and mouth pain or gum pain. If you experience any of the following symptoms of gum disease, and especially more than one, you should see your dental professional right away:
- Receding gums – where your teeth appear longer than they were before
- Inflamed gums – where your gums are red or swollen
- Tender gums – where you feel pain in your gums, or other parts of your mouth
- Blood when brushing – or when flossing your teeth and gums
- Loose teeth – or your teeth are “spreading” or separating, creating gaps between your teeth
- Suppurating sores – or pus between your teeth and gums
- Open sores inside your mouth
- Halitosis – or persistent bad breath
- Your teeth “feel funny” – or “different” when you bite
- Your partial dentures no longer fit properly
While any one of the symptoms listed above may indicate you are suffering from Periodontitis, two or more at the same time will almost certainly indicate that you should see your dentist or periodontist for treatment of gum disease.
The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all your dental problems. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.