According to the American Academy of Periodontology, more than half of American men and woman older than 30 are living with periodontal disease.
The disease stems from an infection of the connective tissues and gums that gradually worsens to the point that it ravages the jawbone, resulting in gum recession and tooth loss.
Because the condition is virtually painless in its earliest stages, many adults neglect to seek treatment. Sudbury, MA dentist Dr. Janice Spada outlines the symptoms and risks of gum disease.
Know the Warning Signs, and Act Quickly
Timely treatment of periodontal disease is essential to the continued health of your teeth and gums. In its earliest phase, called gingivitis, gum disease does not inflict permanent damage.
Without treatment, however, it evolves into a severe infection called periodontitis, a condition that causes irreversible damage. Symptoms to watch for include:
- Teeth that have loosened or fallen out
- Tender gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Puffy, inflamed gums
- Teeth that appear longer due to gum recession
- A bad taste in your mouth, or an odor that persists even after you’ve brushed
- In denture wearers, sudden changes in the comfort and fit of your prosthetic
Know the Risk Factors for Gum Disease
Several factors influence your risk for developing periodontal disease. Some risks, such as smoking or chewing tobacco, can be addressed directly. Others are not so easily controlled.
For example, some patients are genetically predisposed to the disease, as are adults over the age of 35. Many medications, including those taken for heart disease, seizure disorders, and cancer, increase your risk.
Women are more susceptible to gum disease at different times in their life, usually as the result of changes in hormone levels.
Healthy Behaviors to Mitigate Risks
Fortunately, you have several options to mitigate the risks posed by periodontal disease, most of which are as simple as they are effective. Brushing twice daily and flossing every day is your best weapon against gingivitis, especially in conjunction with a dental exam and cleaning every six months.
If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, Dr. Spada may advise you to schedule more frequent appointments.
Have you experience symptoms of gingivitis? To learn more about periodontal disease, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Janice Spada, contact our Sudbury, MA dentist office at (978) 443-3111. We welcome patients living in Marlborough, Framingham, Worcester, Sudbury, and the communities surrounding Boston.