Persistent sore, swollen, red, or bleeding gums as well as tooth pain or sensitivity and bad breath are warning signs of periodontal disease (gum disease). You may not realize that persistent sore, swollen, red, or bleeding gums as well as tooth pain or sensitivity and bad breath are warning signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) - a serious infection that, left untreated, may lead to tooth loss as well as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and premature/underweight babies. Here's what you can do to protect your health: Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.In the mildest form of the disease, gingivitis, the gums redden, swell and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
Assess Your Risk of Gum Disease
Could you be one of the millions of people who have gum disease and don't know it?
The American Academy of Periodontology's risk assessment test will help you see if you are at risk for having or developing periodontal (gum) disease. Millions of people don't know they have this serious infection that can lead to tooth loss if not treated.Once your answers are submitted, a proprietary calculation determines whether you are at low, medium or high risk and generates a report of your results. This Periodontal Disease Risk Score and the information contained in your report should not be construed as dental advice or as a substitute for a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis by a qualified practitioner. Rather, this report is intended to help educate patients about common risk factors related to periodontal diseases and to assist in the decision of when referral to a periodontist would be advisable.