You may think periodontal disease is something you won’t have to worry about until much later in life. While it is true that periodontal disease is much more prevalent in older adults, some stage of it can affect anyone, no matter how young or old. There are four basic stages:
Gingivitis: This is the earliest form of the disease-with red and puffy gums, but no bone loss (pocketing greater than 3 millimeters). If treated at this stage the gums may revert back to health.
Early Periodontal Disease: Displayed by gingivitis plus a loss of bone. When treated at this stage, you may maintain a healthy mouth, but bone lost will never be regained.
Moderate Periodontal Disease: All of the above, plus a deepening of pockets. At this stage, 20-50% of bone is lost and loosening of teeth (mobility) is noted.
Advanced Periodontal Disease: The most severe form. One or more teeth may be at risk for loss. More mobility is noted and a greater than 50% loss of bone.
Children of all ages tend to suffer from some degree of gingivitis during their childhood. For otherwise healthy children, they typically don’t have the more damaging bacteria, P. gingivalis and T. denticola. One survey found 3.6% of young adults (age 18-34) had periodontal disease. Another study found 86% of people over 70 had at least moderate periodontal disease. Another interesting fact is periodontal disease tends to spread through families. While it’s not know whether this is due to genetics, intimacy, hygeine habits, or a combination of factors, studies have found children of parents with periodontal disease are 12 times mroe likely to suffer from it as some point.
Symptoms of Gum Disease Include:
*Bleeding and/or receding gums
*Puffy, red, and tender gums
*Bad breath that won’t go away
*Visible space between your teeth and gums
*Loosening (mobility) of teeth
*Changes in your bite