A serious health hazard may be silently lurking in your gums. Periodontal disease is gum disease that is caused by infection. Just like high blood pressure and diabetes, the signs of periodontal disease are often not evident until it is too late. In fact, over time most adults will have some form of periodontal disease that they may not be aware of.
Your gums can serve as a reservoir for bacteria, which causes inflammation. The role of local infections in generalized disease is well established and can negatively impact your health. Medical and dental professionals have long suspected that infections in the mouth can be a risk factor for systemic illness such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases and low birth weight babies. Inflammation in the mouth can affect vital organ systems remote from the oral cavity by serving as a source of infection. As with most diseases, the key is prevention and halting the disease process in its early stages.
Periodontal disease is a “silent” infection and symptoms may include:
• Persistent bad breath
• Red, swollen or tender gums
• Blood on your toothbrush
• Gums that pull away from the teeth
• Loose or separating teeth
• Pus between the gums and the teeth
The treatment of periodontal disease includes early diagnosis, removal of bacterial deposits deep below the gum line, professional cleanings and follow-up inspection of the gum tissue. A regimen of home care, cooperation by the patient and supportive professional assistance can stop periodontal disease and preserve your teeth, gums and good health for a lifetime.