What are the Causes and Symptoms of Periodontitis?

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What are some of the symptoms of Periodontitis?

Periodontitis – also known as periodontal (gum) disease – refers to a condition where your gum tissue has pulled away from your teeth. This creates small pockets that can be filled with bacteria, which can make you susceptible to tooth loss and other oral health problems.

To help you avoid or fix this issue, let’s take a look at a few of the causes and symptoms of periodontitis, along with a few effective methods that can prevent it.

The Causes and Symptoms of Periodontitis

Before we get into the symptoms of periodontitis, it’s important to understand what causes it in the first place.

Here are the most common causes to consider:

  • Poor Dental Habits — The most common cause for periodontitis is the same as with most other dental issues – lack of good oral hygiene. If you’re not taking care of your teeth, you’ll first develop gingivitis, which will later transition into periodontitis. This is why proper dental health is so important.
  • Inadequate Nutrition — If you’re the type of person who eats fast food and sweets all the time, you’re probably not getting the nutrition you need. If your body experiences a vitamin C deficiency or a lack of other nutrients, then periodontitis may occur. Your dentist can tell you which foods to eat and what to avoid.
  • Smoking/Chewing Tobacco — By now, everyone knows the dangers of smoking, yet it still causes a lot of health issues. Smoking can turn your teeth yellow, damage your gums, and cause periodontitis. Chewing tobacco is even worse as it can cause severe problems like mouth cancer.
  • Hormonal Changes — Periodontitis can also be caused by hormonal changes such as pregnancy and menopause. Unfortunately, these are biological processes, and you may not be able to avoid the ensuing issues that come with them. In these situations, you would probably need to focus on treatment.
  • Medical Problems — Common risk factors for periodontitis include disorders that compromise a person’s immune system. These diseases include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, and others. If you have any of these medical issues, your dentist will work with you to reduce your potential exposure.

The Symptoms of Periodontitis

To help keep your teeth intact and prevent future dental issues, it’s important to identify when there’s a problem. Here are the most common symptoms of periodontitis to watch for:

  • Bleeding or Tender Gums — The first symptom of periodontitis that many people notice is bleeding gums. If you notice blood in your saliva when you floss or brush, it’s time to call the dentist. The same is true for tender gums, as well.
  • Swollen/Discolored Gums — Patients often come in with swollen or discolored gums, both of which can be evidence of periodontitis. Your gums may appear as bright red, dusky red, or purplish. If you see these symptoms, make an appointment.
  • Loose or Missing Teeth — Bone loss will often accompany periodontitis due to poor dental habits. If left untreated, this can lead to tooth loss. You may also experience missing teeth which may fall out and be swallowed while you sleep or eat.
  • Bad Breath — Many people who experience bad breath, also called halitosis, don’t realize it for a long time. You can typically test this with the “breathe into your hand” method. The best test is to ask a close, personal friend to give you their opinion. Yeah, we know… you don’t have to say it.
  • Receding Gums — Due to damage to the gum tissue, your gums may recede. This can sometimes be severe, which will alter the look of your smile and your teeth. If you experience gum recession, it’s time to seek treatment for your periodontitis.

How to Prevent Periodontitis

Now that we’ve looked at the causes and symptoms of periodontitis, let’s talk about prevention.

Here are a few simple ways to help you avoid this terrible dental health issue:

  • Brush and Floss — If you want to improve your dental health, you should be brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once per day. This will help fight off many dental issues including periodontitis. A lack of oral care is one of the leading causes, so make it a regular part of your daily schedule.
  • Improve Nutrition — What you eat can severely affect everything about your body’s health, including teeth and gums. Sugary snacks and beverages, along with other types of junk food, can cause severe dental issues such as periodontitis. Eating healthier will help avoid these types of issues.
  • Avoid Tobacco — As we said above, smoking and chewing tobacco can cause periodontitis and other severe dental problems. Getting yourself to stop smoking can be a long, difficult process, but the effort is worth it. Not only will you prevent dental issues, but you’ll also lower your chances of lung cancer and other health problems.
  • Regular Cleanings — In order to maintain good dental health, you should schedule a professional cleaning every six months. This will help keep your teeth and gums going strong. Plus, it will allow your dentist to identify potential dental issues and take steps to avoid them.
  • Scaling / Root Planing — If you’ve already developed periodontitis or are on the verge of doing so, then your dentist will likely suggest scaling and root planing. This deep clean remove plaque and tartar that’s built up on your teeth and along the gum line. This process will often help prevent periodontitis or its reverse the effects.

Contact Dr. Ferullo’s St. Petersburg Dentist Office to Prevent or Treat Periodontitis

Dr Ferullo is a leading dentist in St. Pete and can help you avoid periodontitis and other dental issues. If you have any questions about the causes or symptoms of periodontitis or would like to set up an appointment, call our office at (727) 822-8101 today.

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