Sensitive Teeth? Why You May Be More at Risk Than You Think
Do your teeth seem to be more sensitive than normal? For example, do some of your teeth hurt when you drink a cold drink or eat ice cream? Do your gums feel sore, appear swollen and red, or bleed when you brush your teeth or floss? Do you feel pain when chewing? If your teeth are sensitive in any of these ways, then there’s a chance that you’ve either developed periodontitis or are at risk for developing periodontitis.
What Is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a bacterial disease. It begins as gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis occurs when plaque and tartar build up on the teeth, resulting in the accumulation of bacteria. Preventing this buildup is why brushing and flossing are so important. Patients with gingivitis not only will notice swollen and red gums, but also may notice some bleeding when they are brushing and flossing.
Gingivitis typically doesn’t cause much discomfort, but your gums may feel a bit tender. Although gingivitis is not destructive, it can progress to periodontitis, which is much more serious and can eventually lead to the loss of teeth if not treated.
When gingivitis goes untreated, the bacteria that has collected within the mouth will begin spreading below the gum line. This will eventually cause the gums to begin receding. Bacteria will then continue spreading, causing the breakdown of the tissue and bones that support your teeth.
Risk Factors of Periodontitis
The following are some of the risk factors of periodontal disease:
- Poor oral health: If you don’t brush or floss your teeth on a regular basis, plaque will build up on your teeth. This will eventually lead to gingivitis, which will increase the risk of developing periodontitis if left untreated.
- Crowded or misaligned teeth: Teeth that are crowded or misaligned make it more difficult to keep them clean, which makes it easier for plaque and tartar to form. Having your teeth straightened can help prevent periodontitis for this reason.
- Genes: Genes play a part in your risk for developing periodontitis. If your family has a history of periodontal disease, you’re more likely to develop it. This doesn’t, however, mean that you will—as long as you practice good oral hygiene.
- Smoking: If you smoke, then your teeth are more likely to collect tartar than if you don’t. Smoking can also lead to deeper periodontal pockets once you have periodontitis. If you don’t stop smoking while you have the disease, it will grow more severe. You’re more likely to lose more bone as well. If you have periodontitis, then quitting smoking should be one of the ways that you treat it.
- Stress: Stress will weaken the body’s immune system, which will make periodontal disease much harder to treat since your body will have a tougher time fighting off infections.
- Diabetes: If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to develop periodontitis. The bacteria that causes the gum disease thrives on sugar—and if you have diabetes, you most likely have higher levels of sugar in your saliva.
If your teeth are overly sensitive, then you may have periodontitis. It’s important that you have your teeth checked to have the problem properly diagnosed. This way, you can prevent further damage to your teeth and get any existing damage repaired. To schedule an appointment with a periodontal specialist, be sure to contact us at Central Florida Periodontics & Implantology today.