Periodontitis is the inflammation of the surrounding tissues (gum, periodontal ligaments) of the teeth. It is also known as Pyorrhea or gum disease.

Besides, gum disease could be acute or chronic. Acute gum disease is painful but chronic gum disease is not painful.

Moreover, gum disease could be the leading cause of tooth loss in the future because the number of cases is on the rise and the number of individuals turning up for complaints of oral pain associated with periodontium is on the increase.

However, unlike a toothache, the periodontal ache is unspecific meaning you can not tell for certain the specific location of the pain. It is also notorious to refer to pain in the head, ear, eye, etc.


The following becomes apparent when you have gum disease;

  • Bleeding gum
  • Pain
  • Recurring swelling gum
  • Spitting out blood after brushing
  • Halitosis or bad breath
  • Persistent metallic taste in the mouth
  • Gingival recession
  • Pocketing
  • Loose teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Chewing difficulty
  • Jaw bone loss
  • Tooth extrusion

When to see a dentist

Consult a dentist when you noticed the following;

  • Bleeding whenever you brush your teeth
  • Mobile teeth without pain or obvious reason
  • Inability to chew properly
  • Severe pain in the mouth that you can not locate properly
  • Displacement of tooth or teeth
  • Swelling in the gum
  • Accumulation of food debris between your teeth whenever you eat

Causes of Periodontitis

Gum disease and infection are fast becoming major causes of oral pain because of our changing diet in our modern society. The causes of gum disease are ;

  • Plaque build up
  • Gum hysensitivity to plaque
  • HIV infection
  • Oral Herpes infection
  • Wegener’s granulomatosis
  • Acute leukemia
  • Medication
  • Inherited condition

Role of saliva

Saliva is the fluid that keeps the mouth moist and clean. The presence of saliva in the mouth reduces the amount of plaque and bacteria because of its special properties it has.

Risk factors

Some conditions and factors predispose one to gum diseases. They are as follows;

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Antihypertensive drugs
  • Sjogren syndrome
  • Dry mouth
  • Genetic condition
  • HIV infection
  • Pregnancy
  • Crooked teeth
  • Impacted teeth
  • Mouth breathing
  • Leukemia


Periodontal disease should not be ignored because it could be a pointer to;

  • Stroke
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Tooth loss
  • Halitosis
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Leukemia
  • Alveolar bone
  • Gingival recession


Doing the following can prevent or mitigate the prevalence of gum disease.

  • Daily flossing of teeth
  • Brushing your teeth twice daily
  • Routine professional cleaning and check-up ( scaling and polishing every 6 months )
  • Avoiding the use of toothpicks
  • Occasional use of mouthwash

Diagnosis and treatment

Discussed in another article

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