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Symptoms and Signs of Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Doctor's Notes on Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Periodontal disease (periodontitis) is a chronic inflammatory disease that destroys gum and bone tissues that support the teeth. Gingivitis (gum swelling, bleeding, bad breath, bad taste in your mouth) usually occur before signs and symptoms of periodontal disease begin. Periodontal signs and symptoms include destruction of gums, connective tissue and bone, leaving tooth roots exposed and sensitive to temperature changes. Pus can develop between the teeth; teeth may fall out or need to be extracted.

Causes of periodontal disease include plaque and tartar deposits that support bacterial infections and contain bacterial toxins that injure or destroy gum and bone tissues; factors that aid the development of periodontal disease are genetics, infrequent dental care, low calcium intake, the body’s inflammatory response to infection, diabetes, poor saliva production, stress, steroid medications and other medications (antiseizure and some blood pressure medications) and changing hormone levels.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.