Gum disease (or periodontal disease) occurs when plaque caused by bacteria builds up in your mouth. Your gum line becomes inflamed and, as it progresses, gum disease affects the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. There are several factors that can contribute to periodontal disease:
- Hormone changes caused by pregnancy, puberty, menopause or menstruation
- Diseases that interfere with your immune system like cancer or HIV, and illnesses that affect the body’s ability to process blood sugar like diabetes
- Medications that cause dry mouth
- Poor oral hygiene
- Family history of dental disease
Gum disease can be painless, so it is important to be aware of any of the following symptoms:
One of the first indications of periodontal disease begins when the gums are red and slightly swollen. And when you brush or floss, even gently, they may bleed. These are not normal and serve as a warning sign of gum disease.
Breath odor and poor taste are common with periodontal disease. As gum disease worsens, the gum tissues start to recede and expose root surfaces. The tissues may also begin to lose their secure attachment to the tooth and cause a pocket to form. This can lead to bone loss and cause your teeth to become sensitive to temperature.
As gum disease progresses, a collection of pus pockets (or abscesses) begin to form, causing pain, discharge and swelling of the gum tissues. The teeth ultimately loosen and start to drift, which can make eating difficult and uncomfortable.
When it comes to good oral health, think of the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” You have the power to prevent gum disease by brushing twice a daily, flossing regularly and visiting your dentist twice a year.
If you are interested in learning more about preventing periodontal disease, we welcome the opportunity to meet with you. To schedule an appointment, please contact Scott T. LeSueur, DDS & Charles A Dodaro, DDS online or by calling our Mesa office at (480) 834-6991 today. We serve Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and all surrounding Arizona communities.