Symptoms & Prevention of Periodontal Disease


Periodontal Disease Symptoms

Periodontal (gum) disease is often silent, meaning symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease.

  • Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

Preventing Periodontal Disease


Periodontal disease is caused when bacteria in plaque (a sticky, colorless film that forms in the mouth) builds up between the gums and teeth. When the bacteria begin to grow, the gums surrounding the tooth can become inflamed. By following the list below, you can greatly reduce your potential for contracting periodontal disease.

  • Brush your Teeth
    Brushing after meals helps remove food debris and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. Don’t forget to include your tongue, bacteria loves to hide there.
  • Swish with Mouthwash
    Using a mouthwash can help reduce plaque and can remove remaining food particles that brushing and flossing missed.
  • Know your Risk
    Age, smoking, diet and genetics can all increase your risk for periodontal disease. If you are at increased risk, be sure to talk with your dental professional.
  • See a Periodontist
    Get an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation (CPE) from a dental professional. A CPE looks at your teeth, plaque level, gums, bite, bone structure and other risk factors for periodontal disease. Identifying symptoms of gum disease early is key to protecting your teeth and gums.

Periodontal Disease and Systemic Health


Research has shown that periodontal disease is associated with several other diseases. For a long time it was thought bacteria was the factor linking periodontal disease to other diseases in the body. More recent research demonstrates that inflammation may be responsible for the association. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.

  • Heart Disease
    Studies have shown that periodontal disease is associated with heart disease. While a cause-and-effect relationship has not yet been proven, research has indicated that periodontal disease increases the risk of heart disease. Scientists believe that inflammation caused by periodontal disease may be responsible for the association. Periodontal disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions. Patients at risk for infective endocarditis may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures. Your periodontist and cardiologist will be able to determine if your heart condition requires use of antibiotics prior to dental procedures.
  • Stroke
    Additional studies have pointed to a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke. In one study that looked at the causal relationship of oral infection as a risk factor for stroke, people diagnosed with acute cerebrovascular ischemia were found more likely to have an oral infection when compared to those in the control group.

Gum Disease and other Systemic Diseases


  • Osteoperosis
    Researchers have suggested a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. Studies suggest that osteoporosis may lead to tooth loss because the density of the bone that supports the teeth may be decreased, meaning the teeth no longer have a solid foundation.
  • Respiratory Disease
    Bacteria that grow in the oral cavity can be aspirated into the lungs to cause respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, especially in people with periodontal disease, according to research.
  • Cancer
    Researchers found that men with gum disease were 49{727bdf8d0b378f6fa1c373cedb1485e72b0f75ef8f768282201a7b2b33b32859} more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54{727bdf8d0b378f6fa1c373cedb1485e72b0f75ef8f768282201a7b2b33b32859} more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30{727bdf8d0b378f6fa1c373cedb1485e72b0f75ef8f768282201a7b2b33b32859} more likely to develop blood cancers.

Learn more about Periodontal Disease

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