Because the initial symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease are silent, telling patients they have early stages of the disease can be surprising since they don’t feel anything is wrong. Yet, this is the ideal stage to combat the disease since treatment here requires minimal time and expense.
Unfortunately, some people wait until the symptoms of periodontal disease become obvious. These include tender and swollen gums that bleed easily when brushing, consistent bad breath, and gums that recede and are red rather than a healthy pink. In the latter stages of gum disease, teeth begin to loosen and need to be removed. Treatment at these stages requires more extensive therapy.
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, which has been associated with other inflammatory diseases in the body. The bacteria of periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in gum tissue and create inflammatory reactions in other parts of the body. Gum disease bacteria has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis, to name a few.
The attitude of ‘if it doesn’t hurt, then nothing’s wrong,’ has been to the detriment of many in the American population. It was Ben Franklin who said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Early-stage periodontal therapy should be thought of as a penny saved, along with saving your good health.