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Symptoms of periodontitis: why you need to pay attention

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Periodontitis is a gum disease that can take serious forms. The symptoms develop over time and without early intervention, they can cause tooth loss.

Knowing the underlying causes and symptoms of periodontitis allows us to take preventive measures against this disease. In this way, we can contact the dentist immediately if we notice something unusual in the gums. It should not be ignored that this disease can develop into clinical presentations that complicate both our oral and general health.

Its origin is often the bacteria that accumulate between the teeth and gums. They manage to colonize the area when they reproduce excessively. In this regard, as you will read in this article, hygiene plays a very important role as a preventive measure.

How does periodontitis develop?

Periodontitis has symptoms that depend on the stage of development of the clinical picture. It is not a disease that manifests itself clearly and directly or that always remains in the same way in the body.

The first thing that occurs is an inflammation of the gums, known as gingivitis. Usually, you notice it when you brush your teeth and discover bleeding in the gums when you rub the toothbrush against it.

Bacterial plaque can also be noticed. This is a film that has settled on the tooth surface that contains bacteria and combined food residues. It is often called a biofilm because it has activity and is not inert – i.e. it is constantly changing.

The next phase is that the gums recede. This exposes the lower parts of the tooth elements to the outside. One of the problems with periodontitis at this stage is the hypersensitivity that comes when the roots come into contact with cold, heat, and food.

If the development continues, the localized inflammation can spread, first to the rest of the mouth and then to the whole body. The inflammatory process is not limited to the gums in some patients, triggering reactions in distant anatomical areas, such as the bones of the lower extremities .

Symptoms of periodontitis

As we said, the symptoms that one exhibits in periodontitis depend on the stage of development of the person suffering from the disease. However, there are still some problems that are common to all and every phase, such as bleeding gums.

This blood is bright red and appears after minimal trauma. Brushing is the number one trigger, followed by bruxism or nighttime teeth grinding. It is common for people with this disease to wake up in the morning with blood around their teeth.

Bad breath also results from bacterial plaque and its constant activity. Leftover food ferments and contributes to a putrefaction process that creates halitosis.

Pain or sensitivity when chewing is linked to receding gums. When the gums recede too much and move away from the tooth element itself, the root is exposed. This means that hot drinks and very cold foods, such as ice cream, irritate the nerves.

In extreme cases, teeth can be lost. If the retraction of the gums is excessive, periodontitis can lead to spontaneous tooth loss as the fibrous support disappears.

The causes of the disease

The causes of periodontitis are the formation of biofilm, which is bacterial plaque. In other words, bacteria are the protagonists of the problem, which in most cases occurs due to poor hygiene.

The normal bacterial flora in the mouth is not in itself malignant. On the contrary, it fulfills essential functions for the regulation of the internal environment of saliva and protection against external infectious and pathogenic substances. However, it is when it is out of balance that problems arise.

If you don’t have a correct toothbrushing technique or you don’t brush often enough. the bacteria multiply and colonize the tooth walls. In addition to this, food remains are trapped by plaque.

When this accumulation goes on for several years, the immune system reacts by perceiving that there are harmful external substances. In the next step, the body mobilizes white blood cells to the gums to fight the problem, leading to tissue inflammation and subsequent retraction.

The immediate complication is the formation of spaces between the tooth and the gums, due to the indentation. If it is left untreated, it causes more bacteria and food residues to settle there.

It is also important to remember that certain risk situations favor the onset of periodontitis:

  • Tobacco: Smokers have a much higher risk of the disease than the rest of the population.
  • Hormonal changes: In women, especially during pregnancy and menopause, several systems change, stimulating plaque formation and the immune system in the gums.
  • Vitamin deficiency: A lack of vitamin C in particular is related to gum disease.

When to consult a dentist

Periodontitis is a disease that needs to be treated by a professional dentist. The earlier the treatment, the easier it will be to prevent complications. Therefore, you must pay attention when brushing your teeth if you notice any bleeding. If you see blood on the toothbrush, it is worth consulting a dentist. This may be the first sign of the onset of the disease.

It is also a good idea to visit the dentist if you repeatedly wake up in the morning with swollen and red gums after a night’s rest. If you notice changes in the color of the tooth surface, this may also be due to plaque, and this is also necessary to have it checked by a dentist. This is not something you should try to remove at home, as you risk damaging both teeth and gums. Don’t wait; make an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible.

Our teeth are important because there is no replacement for them when we are adults. The ones we have are the ones we want to have with us for the rest of our lives.

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