Gingivitis left untreated can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line.
Toxins 'poop' produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic (constant) inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming spaces between the teeth and gums that become infected. As the disease progresses, the spaces deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Many times this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
What are some of the symptoms of periodontitis?
You may have some, all or none of these symptoms:
- Bleeding gums when brushing or cleaning between teeth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Bad taste
- Pain when trying to eat – due to loose teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together
Periodontitis can cause a life long 'issue' in maintaining your teeth and health
But don't be fooled, you can have gum disease and not have any symptoms at all. The disease can be diagnosed with x-rays and a periodontal exam – gum measurements. For more information you can refer to the Academy of Periodontology.