Why You Can Have Gum Disease When Nothing Hurts?

Posted on Jan 19, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Because the initial symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease are silent, the early stages of the disease can be perplexing since patients don’t feel anything is wrong. However, like most diseases that form in our bodies, we don’t feel or see anything when they first begin. This allows the disease to progress without our knowledge.

Unfortunately, people tend to delay treatment until the symptoms of periodontal disease are obvious and uncomfortable. These include tender and swollen gums that bleed easily upon brushing, consistent bad breath, and gums that are red in color rather than a healthy pink. As gum disease progresses, pus pockets will form around teeth as bacterial growth accumulate. Eventually, teeth will loosen and need to be removed.

The reasons for a healthy mouth are more numerous than many realize. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that has been associated with other inflammatory diseases in the body. Because the bacteria of periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in gum tissue, it has been shown to trigger inflammatory reactions in other parts of the body. This oral bacteria has been linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and arthritis, just to name a few.

The Center for Disease Control’s Division of Oral Health cites that one out of every two American adults 30 and over has periodontal disease. They also shared statistics, such as periodontal disease is higher in men than women (56.4% vs. 38.4%) with high prevalence rates among smokers (64.2%) and adults 65+, having prevalence rates of 70.1%.

This means that a significant portion of our adult population are living with bacteria-laden oral tissues that can contribute to inflammatory reactions, some with deadly risk levels. In other words, bacteria from gum disease can be a time bomb and should be treated at the earliest possible stage.

Treatment of early stage periodontal disease should require only a few visits with minimal expenses. We also make comfort a priority at all visits, regardless of the procedure being performed. If you suspect you have any level of gum disease, call (828) 274-9440 or visit the web site of the American Academy of Periodontology: www.perio.org.

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