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What are the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?
In the earliest stages, periodontal disease causes few signs or symptoms, and you may not be aware of a problem until your gums become soft and bleed slightly when you brush your teeth. As the disease progresses, you may notice more-serious changes, including: swollen, bright red or purple gums; gums that feel tender when touched; gums that recede from the teeth, exposing the roots; gaps developing between your teeth; pus between your teeth and gums; persistent breath odour or a bad taste in your mouth, and loosening of the teeth.
Because several types of periodontitis exist, you may experience problems that are unique to a particular form of the disease. For instance, aggressive periodontitis, which affects otherwise healthy young people, causes a rapid deterioration of teeth and gums. The condition can also occur with periods of severe disease alternating with periods when signs and symptoms improve or seem to disappear.
Other types of periodontitis and their characteristics include:
- Chronic periodontitis: This most common type of gum disease is characterized by progressive loss of the bone and soft tissues that surround and support your teeth. The damage usually develops more slowly than it does in aggressive periodontitis.
- Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic disease: This usually develops at a young age and occurs in conjunction with another health problem, such as diabetes.
- Necrotizing periodontal disease: A severe form of periodontitis, this causes the death of gum tissue, tooth ligaments and even bone. People suffering from malnutrition or living with HIV/AIDS are especially vulnerable.