Gum disease poses a serious risk to your oral health. If not reversed, it can lead to bone degradation, tooth loss, and systemic infection.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. At this point, improving your at-home dental hygiene and a few quality, professional cleanings can get your gums back to a healthy state. As the disease progresses to periodontitis, however, your oral and overall health may suffer.
At Advanced Care Dentistry, we can help you spot these three early signs of gum disease so you can reverse course on your oral health.
Periodontitis is the most common reason adults experience tooth loss. If that’s not enough, the bacteria that causes gum disease enters your bloodstream and can cause body-wide infection. Gum disease has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory disease, heart disease, and difficulties managing diabetes.
Gum disease first shows up as gingivitis, a mild inflammation of the gums. You might notice your gums look puffy and red. Areas of your gums may also be tender to the touch. Sometimes the gums start to recede slightly from the enamel of your teeth.
When you brush or floss your teeth, your gums may bleed. This isn’t because you’re brushing too hard; it’s most likely an indication of gingivitis.
This isn’t the bad breath due to having extra onions on your taco or tuna salad for lunch. Bad breath associated with gum disease is foul-smelling and persistent. This is a sign that the bacteria infecting your gums are multiplying. You may also have an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
Another major warning sign of gum disease are painful gums. Pain when chewing and sensitivity to hold and cold liquids or foods can occur.
You may develop sores on your gums and find your teeth are slightly loose. Loose teeth generally don’t occur in adults unless you’ve experienced trauma or have later stage gum disease, so if you notice a little wiggle, it’s imperative that you make an appointment with us right away.
If caught early enough, we can treat gum disease with deep dental cleanings known as scaling and root planing. The scaling process removes tartar and bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth and root planing smooths the root surfaces to discourage further build up of bacteria. We may also prescribe antibiotics to wipe out the bacterial infection. These may be topical or oral.
If you don’t pay attention to the earlier warning signs of gum disease and your condition has progressed, you may require surgery, soft tissue grafts, or bone grafts. In advanced cases of gum disease, you may need to see a specialist.
You can prevent gum disease from developing or recurring with simple oral hygiene habits. Brush twice per day, for at least two minutes, and floss at least once a day.
Preventive care and regular dental visits are also an important step as we can get at areas that just can’t be adequately reached with a toothbrush and floss. It’s inevitable that you miss some places. Schedule these cleanings about once every six months. If you have a history of gum disease or other oral health concerns, more frequent visits may be necessary.
Call Advanced Care Dentistry or request an appointment online if you notice signs of gum disease or just need a professional cleaning.