Periodontitis is a serious gum infections that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that supports your teeth. It can cause tooth loss or even as serious as increased risk to heart attacks or strokes.
Although common, Periodontitis is largely preventable. It is usually the result of poor oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day, flossing and regular dental checkup can greatly reduce your chance of developing periodontitis.
Some signs and symptoms of Periodontitis can include:
- Swollen gums
- Bright red or purplish gums
- Gums that feel tender when touched
- Gums that pull away from your teeth (recede), making your teeth look longer then normal
- New spaces developing between your teeth
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Bad breath
- Bad taste in your mouth
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
There are different types or periodontitis; Chronic Periodontitis is the most common affecting mainly adults although children can be affected, too. Aggressive periodontitis usually begins in childhood or early adulthood and affects only a small number of people.
It is mainly thought that periodontitis begins with plaque. Plaque forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria normally found in your mouth. Brushing and flossing helps remove that plaque although plaque reforms quickly, usually within 24 hours.
Plaque that stays on your teeth too long for over two or three days will harden under your gumline into tartar. Tartar can’t be removed by brushing and flossing only with a professional dental cleaning. The long plaque lasts on your teeth the more damage it can do.
Healthy gums should be firm and pale pink. If your gums are puffy, dark red and bleed easy, or show other signs of periodontitis see your dentist. The sooner you seek out care the better your chances are of reversing the damage and potentially preventing other serious health problems.