Gingivitis in its first stage causes the gums reddish and easy bleeding. This can usually be eliminated by daily washing and the use of dental floss. Periodontal disease in a more advanced state causes the destruction of gums and the bone that supports the teeth. Only dentists can treat the advanced damages of periodontitis. To avoid periodontal disease, daily dental hygiene is recommended.
Periodontal disease is generally due to bacteria in the mouth infecting the tissue around the teeth. Risk factors include smoking, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, family history, and certain medications. Diagnosis is by inspecting the gum tissue around the teeth both visually and with a probe and X-rays looking for bone loss around the teeth.
Treatment involves good oral hygiene and regular professional teeth cleaning. Recommended oral hygiene include daily brushing and flossing. In certain cases, antibiotics or dental surgery may be recommended.
Signs and symptoms
In the early stages, periodontitis has very few symptoms, and in many individuals, the disease has progressed significantly before they seek treatment.
Symptoms may include:
-Redness or bleeding of gums while brushing teeth, using dental floss or biting into hard food (e.g., apples) (though this may occur even in gingivitis, where there is no attachment loss).
-Gum swelling that recurs.
-Spitting out blood after brushing teeth.
-Halitosis, or bad breath, and a persistent metallic taste in the mouth.
-Gingival recession, resulting in apparent lengthening of teeth. (This may also be caused by heavy-handed brushing or with a stiff toothbrush).
-Deep pockets between the teeth and the gums (pockets are sites where the attachment has been gradually destroyed by collagen-destroying enzymes, known as collagenases).
-Loose teeth, in the later stages (though this may occur for other reasons, as well).
Patients should realize gingival inflammation and bone destruction are largely painless. Hence, people may wrongly assume painless bleeding after teeth cleaning is insignificant, although this may be a symptom of progressing periodontitis in that patient.