Periodontal Disease: Symptoms You Can't Afford To Ignore

Periodontal disease is a serious form of gum disease that is treatable, but not curable. If left untreated, periodontal disease can result in the permanent loss of adult teeth. Specifically, a person with the disease suffers from a bacterial infection of the gums that makes its way to the jaw bone, causing deterioration of the bone over time. Sadly, many people with periodontal disease don't realize they have it until it's too late and there's no way to save the teeth.

That's why it's so important to schedule regular dental exams and to be on the lookout for signs of this form of gum disease.

Loose or Shifting Teeth

One common sign of periodontal disease that tends to get easily overlooked is the feeling of loose or shifting teeth. You may find that you're able to move your teeth back and forth with your tongue (much like you were able to do when you had a loose tooth as a child) or that your teeth appear to be shifting. While this isn't always a sign of gum disease, it can be an early symptom. And when you catch periodontal disease early, it's much easier to treat.

Gums that Easily Bleed

Perhaps the most common symptom of periodontal disease is having gums that constantly look swollen and that bleed very easily. You might find that your gums start bleeding when you brush your teeth, floss, or even bite into food. Bleeding gums are never normal, so you should see a dentist right away if you begin to notice bleeding or inflammation. By doing so, you could catch gum disease while it's still in the curable stage of gingivitis. If you wait too long, however, gingivitis can easily progress into periodontal disease.

Unexplained and Persistent Bad Breath

Finally, if you begin to notice that you have foul breath with seemingly no explanation (for example, you haven't changed your dental hygiene habits or diet), this could also be a sign of gum disease. That's because the bacteria that cause periodontal disease often have a very foul odor, which can become present in your breath no matter how often you brush your teeth or use mouthwash. If periodontal disease is the culprit, the only way to get rid of your bad breath will be to remove the bacteria by having your teeth and gums deep cleaned by a periodontist in a process known as root planing and scaling.