According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, half of Americans over thirty suffer from periodontal disease, a serious gum disease. For parents of young children, thirty can seem like a long way off; however, the chances that your child could develop a gum disease increase with every year. Not only are there precautions you and your children should be taking now, but there are also early warning signs you should watch out for.
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria between your teeth and gums, so the biggest precaution you can take is regular brushing and flossing. Skipping the floss can allow bacteria to flourish and can even lead to pockets of bacteria forming under your teeth themselves.
At Heroes Dental, we know that oral health can have a massive effect on overall health, and one of the largest factors in that relationship is gum disease. Periodontal disease can increase you or your child’s risk of heart disease, exacerbate other conditions like diabetes, and it’s even been linked to Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Check out our list below of signs you or your child may need periodontal disease treatment to ensure a healthier smile and a healthier life.
5 Signs You Need to Seek Out Treatment
1. Swollen, Inflamed, or Bleeding Gums
If you or your child’s gums bleed while brushing, you may think it’s no big deal. However, you may be surprised to hear that your gums should never bleed when you brush or floss. If your gums bleed, are swollen, puffy, or inflamed, it may be a sign that you have periodontal disease.
Bleeding can be a warning sign and a cause of further danger, as well. Periodontal disease can be very dangerous because the bacteria that builds up around your teeth and gums can potentially enter your bloodstream and lead to a heart attack or stroke.
2. Gum Recession or Gum Pocketing
Have you ever heard the term “long in the tooth?” Well, it’s possible that this term was picked up because of the prevalence of periodontal disease in older people.
What does this have to do with your five-year-old? Receding gums at any age is a strong indicator that periodontal disease is progressing. Another sign of gum disease is gum pocketing. Pockets form between your teeth and gums, making it even harder to remove food debris by brushing and flossing which can, in turn, make the condition worse.
While gum pockets can really only be safely measured by your dentist, gum recession can be visible and should be taken as a sign that you or your child should see a dentist to check for gum disease.
3. Painful or Loose Teeth
It may not surprise you at this point to hear that gum disease can be painful. As plaque forms, it irritates your gums, and chronically inflamed gums can expose the root surface of your tooth. Not only does this make your teeth more sensitive, but it also makes them more susceptible to decay and abfraction (the loss of tooth structure due to decay).
If this decay progresses far enough, it can lead to your teeth wiggling — or even falling out.
4. Bad Breath
Bad breath can be embarrassing to talk about, but it also serves as a warning sign for multiple issues. Among other things, bad breath can be caused by dry mouth or poor dental hygiene, both of which can also cause periodontal disease.
The common thread is bacteria growth. Periodontitis is caused by a buildup of bacteria growth, and bacteria loves a dry mouth with unbrushed teeth. This bacteria can also smell bad or leave a bad taste in your mouth.
5. High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar and gum disease make a particularly nasty combination; it is true that periodontal disease can itself lead to higher blood pressure.
However, it’s also true that people with high blood pressure are more susceptible to gum disease in the first place. Talk to your dentist about periodontal disease if you or your child have or are at risk of diabetes, particularly type two diabetes, which can cause gum disease to progress more quickly.
Ask Your San Juan Pediatric Dentist about Periodontal Disease
The first and most important step to avoid gum disease is regular dental hygiene habits: brush twice a day for at least two minutes at a time, and floss at least once a day.
The next step is regular dental exams. The way to test for periodontal disease is by measuring gum recession and periodontal pockets, both of which need to be done by a dentist. Regular professional teeth cleaning are also a great way to avoid the bacteria buildup that leads to periodontitis, especially for those with high blood pressure or dry mouth.