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Signs & Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Many people with periodontal (gum) disease do not notice any obvious signs or symptoms, such as pain.  For this reason, it is very important to be seen seen by your dentist and dental hygienist for regular dental checkups and cleanings. Described below are some of the most common signs of gum disease. If you are experiencing any of the following, please consult with your dentist:

  • Gums that easily bleed – Bleeding when brushing, flossing, or eating food is one of the most common symptoms of periodontal infection.  Infected gums become inflamed. This inflammation causes the gums to feel sensitive and bleed easily.

  • Sensitive, red, or swollen gums – A periodontal infection may be present if the gums are swollen, red, or painful. In contrast, healthy gums are firm, pink, and do not feel sensitive or painful.

  • Gum recession – When periodontal disease progresses, the gums become damaged and connective tissue is lost, which can lead to gum recession. When the gums recede away from the teeth, the roots of the teeth become exposed making the the teeth appear longer. Gum recession is typically not reversible without undergoing treatment such as gum graft surgery.

  • Bad breath – There are several causes for bad breath, known as halitosis. Typically, bad breath is caused by bacteria living in the gums. Restoring gum health through maintained dental cleanings and consistent home care helps eliminate bad breath caused by periodontitis. Some bad breath can also be caused by bacteria on the tongue, which is why dentists recommend brushing the tongue when brushing the teeth. Odors from the food we eat, food particles stuck between the teeth, tobacco, or from the lungs and stomach can also cause bad breath.

  • Loose teeth/changing bite – A sign of rapidly progressing periodontitis is the loosening or shifting of the teeth.  As the bone becomes destroyed, teeth that were once firmly attached to the jawbone become loose and shift. This shifting can change the way the teeth are arranged and the bite. As periodontitis progresses, the teeth can become so loose that they fall out.

  • Pus – Pus oozing from the gums is a definitive sign of infection.  Pus forms as a result of the body fighting the bacteria-causing infection. Aside from gum infection, tooth infection can also cause pus in the mouth. If you have noticed pus inside your mouth, it is important to be seen by your dentist as soon as possible to determine the cause of the infection and undergo treatment. 

 

*Please note the people depicted in the photographs are models and not real patients.*


 

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