How To Tell If You Have Periodontal Disease

Front view of Sarko Dental

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, can have a significant impact on your oral health and overall well-being. How can you spot this disease early, and what treatments are available by dentists?

The foremost cause of periodontitis is the build-up of dental plaque due to poor oral hygiene. Recent reports show that about 42% of adults in the United States 30 years and older have periodontitis to some degree. While it can lead to various complications with dental health, including tooth loss, gum recession, bone deterioration and systemic health issues, early periodontitis is often undetected because it’s typically painless and lacks obvious symptoms. This generally poses a challenge for early detection as signs may only become apparent once the condition has become more advanced, potentially posing more serious issues.  

Understanding How Gum Disease Occurs

Your gums play a vital role in safeguarding your jaw and tooth roots. They maintain the stability of your teeth and act as a barrier against harmful bacteria. As you eat, food particles can become stuck between your teeth and gums, and without good oral hygiene such as regular brushing and flossing, bacteria quickly accumulates and forms plaque on the tooth surface. The plaque hardens into tartar, leading to potential infection of the gums as it extends beneath the gum line. The result is a mild inflammation known as gingivitis. If left untreated or ignored, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis.  

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontitis

Identifying the early signs of periodontal disease is crucial for maintaining your oral health and preventing more serious issues. Here are some key symptoms to watch for:

  • Bleeding gums: Healthy gums should not bleed easily, so if you notice bleeding when brushing, flossing, or eating, it could be a sign of gingivitis. Pay attention to any changes in the color or texture of your gums, as well as persistent bleeding, as these may indicate an underlying issue that needs attention.
  • Swollen or tender gums: Inflamed gums that appear red, swollen, or tender to the touch are common symptoms of gingivitis. Your gums may also feel sore or sensitive, especially when brushing or eating. If you experience discomfort or pain in your gums, it's essential to have them evaluated by a dental professional.
  • Bad breath: Persistent bad breath, or halitosis, can be a telltale sign of gum disease. The bacteria that cause gum disease can produce foul-smelling odors, even after brushing and flossing. If you find yourself struggling with bad breath despite good oral hygiene habits, it may be a sign of an underlying dental issue that needs to be addressed.
  • Receding gums: As gum disease progresses, you may notice that your gums are pulling away from the teeth, creating pockets or gaps between the gum line and tooth surface. This can expose the roots of the teeth and lead to increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages.
  • Loose or shifting teeth: Advanced gum disease can cause the supporting structures of the teeth, including the bone and ligaments, to deteriorate, resulting in loose or shifting teeth. If you notice changes in the alignment or stability of your teeth, it’s crucial to seek prompt dental care to prevent further damage and tooth loss.

Taking Action for Your Oral Health

Timely intervention is critical to preventing the progression of gum disease and preserving your oral health. If you recognize any of the signs or symptoms of periodontal disease, schedule an appointment with our trusted cosmetic dentist in Scottsdale for evaluation and treatment.

Call (480) 951-2782 or request an appointment online to set up your first visit. We’ll be in touch soon.