Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease refers to chronic inflammation of the gums that can lead to tooth loss and increase your risk of developing heart and lung disease.In today’s post, we’ll explain the stages of periodontal disease and walk you through a few ways you can reduce your risk.
The beginning stage of periodontal disease is relatively benign and often shrugged off. People with incipient periodontal disease will generally experience bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, along with fluctuating irritation. Pockets (the space between the gums and teeth) will be present, but measure no more than 3 millimeters in length. This stage can be reversed with a sound oral hygiene routine.
Symptoms increase in severity in this stage. Patients will experience frequent and long-lasting gum bleeding, puffiness, and severe irritation after brushing. Spaces between the gums and teeth will measure up to 5 millimeters. Bacteria may fill these spaces and contribute to further inflammation and pain.
In this stage, patients will experience severe and painful bleeding in addition to swollen and irritated gums. Pockets will measure at least 6 millimeters and the surrounding gum tissue will begin to recede. If periodontal disease is not addressed at this stage, tooth roots can be exposed and put at a higher risk of decay. Patients may also find themselves sensitive to hot and cold foods.
Patients with advanced periodontal disease will experience severely receding gum lines in addition to bleeding, swelling, and extremely tender gums. Teeth will continue to become damaged as the disease progresses, and many patients may have to have their teeth removed when the damage becomes extensive.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease can be usually be treated and controlled under the guidance of a professional. Treatment plans include intensive cleaning, gum tissue removal, and surgery in some cases. Prevention is undoubtedly the most effective way to keep your mouth healthy, so here are a few tips to help you prevent periodontal disease:
- Schedule regular checkups: Whether you’re beginning to show the early signs of periodontal disease or you’re simply in for a routine examination, regularly scheduled checkups are a great way to monitor your oral health. You can also speak with a periodontist if you have concerns specifically related to the health of your gums.
- Brush properly: Brush your teeth twice each day, making sure to brush around your gum line. Bacteria often accumulate on the border between the gums and teeth, making it crucial to clean this area twice each day.
- Floss: Brushing your teeth is crucial for good oral health, but flossing is the only way to effectively clean plaque from between your teeth.
- Stop smoking: Smoking severely irritates your mouth and can increase the progression of periodontal disease. Given the other health risks entailed by smoking, quitting should be one of your top priorities.
We're here to assist you if you need help with gum disease or any other aspect of your oral health.
If you need to speak with a periodontist, contact us at North Shore Smile Surgery today!