Periodontal disease is an oral infection impacting the gum tissues, periodontal ligament (structure attaching a tooth to its surrounding alveolar bone socket) and the supporting jaw bone. Hundreds of variations of bacteria living in the mouth are responsible for periodontal infection, which is a destructive, slowly progressing condition causing bone loss and ultimate tooth loss if allowed to advance.

To protect the longevity of the teeth and preserve their supporting structures, identifying its symptoms and treating periodontal disease as early as possible is crucial.

Identifiable Symptoms of Periodontal Infection

Each individual may display symptoms of periodontal disease differently, depending on the severity of the condition and other environmental or biological influences. However, the most common of such symptoms are as follows:

  • Bleeding Gums: Infected gum tissues may bleed while brushing, flossing and eating, or spontaneously.
  • Swollen Gums: The inflammatory response triggered by the presence of plaque, tartar and bacteria causes the gum tissue to swell. Swollen gum tissues may even be tender or painful.
  • Bad Breath (Halitosis): Bad breath is a result of certain bacteria producing sulfur compounds within the mouth. Inflamed gum tissues trap these bacteria, along with food and other oral debris, increasing malodor associated with having bad breath.
  • Receding Gums: The process of gum recession occurs when tissues detach from the tooth structure and begin to recede down the root surface. Exposed roots pose a number of concerns for the teeth, and may be accompanied by tooth pain or sensitivity and esthetic changes.
  • Tooth Pain: Tooth pain associated with periodontal disease may derive from one of three sources: exposed root structure from gum recession, loose teeth shifting within the socket or a periodontal abscess.
  • Loose Teeth: Bacteria responsible for the disease release toxins, signaling the body to begin the process of breaking down supporting jaw bone. Teeth become mobile when the bone levels are no longer adequate to support them.
  • Tooth Loss: The ultimate oral effect of periodontal disease is tooth loss, which takes place when there is no longer enough bone to provide support for the teeth.

The presence of periodontal disease may be indicated by one or more of the symptoms mentioned here. In some cases, none of these symptoms are evident, which underscores the importance of maintaining regular dental cleanings and examinations to evaluate for this destructive oral infection.

Visit a Periodontist or Dentist for Your Periodontal Disease Screening

Periodontists and general dentists routinely provide screenings for periodontal disease, even in the absence of symptoms such as bleeding gums, bad breath and tooth pain. To learn more about common symptoms of periodontal disease and whether you are affected by the condition, contact your dentist or periodontist for a consultation.

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