Periodontal disease or gum disease is a progressive, painless infection of the gums leading to loss of bone around the teeth. This can be successfully treated. Untreated periodontal disease not only causes tooth loss but it can potentially contribute to health problems.
It is best to have a dentist or periodontist examine your mouth. Signs of gum disease include bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, loose teeth, swelling in the mouth, shifting of teeth, and bad breath. However, most people have very few subjective symptoms and are first diagnosed by their dentist.
Dental infections pose a risk to heart valves, and may be implicated in hardening of the arteries, heart attack, stroke, and spontaneous, pre–term births.
|Stages of dental disease
Gums have a healthy pink color. The gum line hugs teeth tightly and there is no bleeding.
Gums bleed easily when you brush or when probed gently during examination. Gums are inflamed and sensitive to touch. Possible bad breath and bad taste might result. Gums between teeth may look bluish–red in color.
Gums may begin to pull away from the teeth. Bleeding, puffiness and inflammation become more pronounced. There is bad breath, bad taste and slight loss of bone shows up horizontally on an X–ray. Pockets of 3–4mm between teeth and gums are found in one or more areas of the mouth.