Do I Have Gum Disease? Top Signs to Look For
Periodontal (gum) disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss in American adults. Fortunately, knowing how to prevent gum disease can save your smile before it gets too late. Regular checkups, good home care, and pinpointing the early signs of gum disease are key.
Common Signs of Gum Disease
Tender or swollen gums. Gingivitis is often the first stage of gum disease before permanent physical damage occurs to the gum tissues or underlying bone. Classic symptoms include redness, inflammation, and tenderness. Fortunately, gingivitis can usually be reversed with a couple of weeks of good brushing and flossing. But if symptoms do not improve, a bigger problem is likely at play.
Bleeding when you brush or floss. Healthy gums do not bleed when you clean them with a toothbrush or floss. Bleeding is the result of a bacterial infection somewhere below your gum tissues, because of antibodies rushing to that area. When they’re irritated, the thin connection will begin to bleed. The good news is that if you continue to brush and floss, the bleeding should improve within a couple of weeks if you only have gingivitis. But continued bleeding is usually a sign of deeper issues around the roots of your teeth.
Gum recession and spaces between teeth. Diseased gums naturally pull away from teeth, leading to exposed root surfaces and “black triangles” between them. Gum recession in and of itself leads to additional concerns, such as an uptick in root cavities, tooth sensitivity, and aesthetic problems. The bad news is that receding gumlines cannot grow back on their own and the underlying bone is shrinking along with them.
Chronic halitosis. Bad breath is a common side effect of periodontal disease. Since heavy loads of bacteria and necrotic tissues are present around your teeth, it can be nearly impossible to eliminate the odor on your own. Breath mints and rinses might actually make it worse by drying out your mouth or feeding the “bad” bacteria that are already there.
Visible tartar buildup. Most people with chronic gum disease will have tartar buildup along the gumlines. The heaviest areas tend to be behind the lower front teeth and on the outsides of the upper back teeth. But not all buildup is visible to the naked eye. Oftentimes, it lurks below the gumlines and between the roots of teeth, where it’s only visible on X-rays. The longer tartar is present on teeth, the larger and more destructive it becomes to your mouth.
Teeth that are mobile or sore. Periodontal infections compromise the microscopic ligaments that hold your teeth into the socket. When those tissues become strained, infected, or stretched, the tooth will begin to move around or feel sore when pressure is applied. Mobility is also caused by the lack of bone support around the roots as periodontitis becomes more pronounced.
Gum Infections Impact More Than Just Your Smile
The bad news is that gum disease doesn’t just destroy your smile. It also puts you at a greater risk for major medical concerns like heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Treating periodontitis will benefit both your dental health as well as your overall wellness.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Oral bacteria from dental plaque and tartar buildup along the gums trigger a natural immune response inside of your body. Without good oral hygiene or regular cleanings, those areas of bacteria make the tissues and bone pull away from your teeth, ultimately leading to a lack of support.
Gum Disease Treatment in Dumont
If you think you have gum disease, it’s time to visit our dentist in Dumont. We offer comprehensive treatments including deep cleanings and periodontal maintenance (in Dumont) under one roof. Schedule an appointment at Palisades Dental Care today before your gum infection has a chance to get worse.