Recognising periodontal disease

Many of you will recognise some of the gum disease symptoms without even knowing that you are suffering from it. This is because, often, symptoms do not induce pain and, as such, can go unnoticed. Therefore, it’s important that you attend regular check-ups with your dental team and maintain  good oral hygiene.

The early signs of gum disease can be easily spotted, and should not be neglected. Although some of us might have experienced a slight bit of bleeding from overzealous brushing, if bleeding gums are a regular occurrence, then this should not be overlooked. Combine this with red and swollen gums, then gingivitis is more than likely to be the cause. At this stage it is important not only to persevere with a good brushing technique and cleaning between the teeth, but also to seek a professional opinion. Your dentist or hygienist can prescribe the appropriate care to fight the symptoms of gum disease you may be experiencing. Whilst it’s easy to believe that there’s not much to worry about, if ignored then it is likely that the infection will develop into periodontitis, an irreversible stage of gum disease.

What are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

There are many different types, or classes, of periodontal disease. Depending on the extent of the infection, symptoms can vary. Periodontal disease is usually painless, which is why it can go unnoticed for prolonged periods of time, until the disease is at an advanced stage. However, there are some signs and symptoms which indicate the presence of a periodontal infection. Although symptoms can be variable, the common signs of periodontal disease can include:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing, at other times or spontaneously
  • Achy, itchy, sore or tender gums
  • Receding gums (teeth begin to look longer)
  • Pus between your teeth and gums when you press on your gums
  • Bad breath or bad taste
  • Migration, protruding and loosening of your teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Spaces between your teeth

If you recognise any of the early symptoms of periodontal disease, either from the aforementioned list or from alternative sources, it’s important not to ignore them. The quicker you learn you may be suffering from an infection of some kind, the faster it can be treated and the less likely it is to become serious. The above are a serious sign as to the deterioration of your oral health. Any abnormalities with your teeth should not be disregarded. Healthy gums should be pink, firm and should not be tender when you brush or touch them. You know your teeth better than anyone, and if you are experiencing any abnormalities, you should book an appointment to have your teeth and gums checked.

Catch any Gum Problems Early

It is always ideal to identify and treat any disease before it becomes advanced and this is also true for gum disease. The symptoms of gum disease can be unpleasant and the longer it is left untreated the more likely they are to progress; this can lead to further dental complications.

As soon as infection or inflammation occurs in our body our immune system is activated to fight it, with gum disease a combination of the bacterial infection and our body’s own natural reaction can cause further development of the gum pockets and further destruction of the periodontal tissues. Once the infection has caused the periodontal tissues to be destroyed the disease is no longer reversible and can only be stabilised, therefore treatment before it reaches this irreversible stage is important.

Medical consequences

Research has shown, and experts agree, that there is an association between periodontal diseases and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions. (American Association of Periodontology)

Periodontal disease is no longer thought of as merely a dental problem. Increasing evidence suggests strong links between periodontal infection and serious medical problems such as:

  • Diabetes
    Diabetic patients are more likely to develop periodontal disease, which in turn can increase blood sugar and diabetic complications. Research has emerged that suggests that the relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes goes both ways – periodontal disease may also make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar.
  • Heart Disease and Heart Attacks
    Researchers have found that people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease.
  • Respiratory Disease
    Recent research suggests that bacteria found in the throat, as well as bacteria found in the mouth, can be drawn into the lower respiratory tract. This can cause infections or worsen existing lung conditions. People with respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, typically suffer from reduced protective systems, making it difficult to eliminate bacteria from the lungs.
  • Stroke some studies show an increased risk of stroke for patients with mild to severe gum disease.
  • Pregnancy Problems
    Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be more likely to have a baby born too early and too small. Patients in certain higher risk categories should pay particular attention to any signs and symptoms of periodontal disease.

If you have any of these symptoms, visit your dentist as soon as possible for diagnosis and advice. Or call us on 020 7247 7400 to speak our friendly team or fill out our contact form.