Do I Have Periodontal Disease?

You might be surprised to learn that half of American adults over 30 have some form of periodontal disease, commonly referred to as gum disease. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the developed world, but it affects more than just teeth: periodontal disease is linked to pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

Learn the signs of periodontal disease and how to prevent it with Lawson MO dentist Dr. Nelson Kanning and keep your smile and body healthy.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

The word periodontal means “around the tooth.” Someone with periodontal disease, also called periodontitis, has diseased gum tissue around the teeth and jawbone. It can be the result of bacteria buildup in the mouth, or it can be the result of another disease in the body that causes oral health problems. If untreated, periodontitis can result in tooth loss or systemic health problems.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

Periodontitis is mainly caused by bacteria buildup in the mouth that erodes enamel and destroys the teeth. To get rid of this bacteria, our immune systems respond the same way they would to an infection in another part of the body. White blood cells and other immune cells travel to the infected gum tissue and cause swelling and inflammation. As the gums swell, they pull away from the teeth, which allows even more pockets for bacteria to settle into.

Periodontal disease may also be an indicator of other health problems. People with heart disease or diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease, as are people who smoke.

What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

  • New spaces developing between teeth
  • Swollen gums that bleed easily
  • Gums that pull away from your teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Deep pockets between teeth

When You Should See a Dentist

Periodontal disease affects half of American adults, and many people don’t even know they have it. Even people with good oral hygiene need to see their dentist regularly for cleanings and X-rays.

If you start to see symptoms of periodontal disease, make an appointment with your dentist. Taking care of your oral health now improves the health of your mouth and has a positive effect on your overall health. Patients in the Lawson MO area should schedule an appointment with Dr. Kanning to protect your teeth and gums for years to come.