Do you have a healthy mouth? While it’s easy to overlook the importance of your oral health, you should be aware of the warning signs of gum disease. Gum disease remains one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. Left undetected and untreated, gum disease can also lead to other more serious health issues including periodontal bone loss, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Dentists often stress the importance of taking care of your teeth at every visit but they do not always educate you on the dangers of failing to do so. The fact is gum disease is on the rise. Studies estimate that nearly half of all Americans over 35 are affected by it. Spending 5 minutes each day brushing and flossing can keep your mouth clean and healthy, but you may not notice some gum disease warning signs. This means you may have gum disease without even knowing it.
Let’s look at some signs of gum disease you should know and let your dentist know about right away. The earlier you diagnose and treat gum disease, the better for your dental health and health overall.
The first warning sign of gum disease is bleeding gums when you brush your teeth. This is the most obvious sign that plaque has accumulated and formed pockets between the teeth and gums. When plaque builds up, it will cause the gums to turn red, swell, and bleed when you brush or floss. Bleeding gums is often an early sign that you’re developing gum disease.
One cause of receding gums is gum disease. Most people have some gum recession because of aging. It can also result from brushing teeth too aggressively with a hard toothbrush. However, you should also consider gingivitis as a cause. As the infection deepens and worsens, your gums will recede away from your teeth leaving them more exposed. This exposes previously covered roots that are now susceptible to tooth decay. As gum disease progresses again further deeper layers of the gum. In the later stages, it can affect the underlying bone.
Another sign of gum disease is bad breath. As the bacteria build up in the gums, they can produce gases that cause an odor. Although bad breath can have a number of causes, dental decay and gum disease are two common ones. Good dental hygiene lowers the risk of halitosis and gum disease.
If you notice bleeding gums, bad breath after meals, or teeth that feel sensitive to hot or cold, you could have gum disease. As the gum tissue recedes, it exposes nerves that cause pain when you eat something hot or cold. If you notice this type of discomfort, see your dentist right away. Another cause of heat and cold sensitivity is an area of dental decay or a loose filling. A dentist can find out the exact cause.
It’s not normal for your gums to feel tender, and tender gum can be a sign of undiagnosed gingivitis. It all starts with plaque and tartar build-up around the base of the teeth, along the gumline. If you let plaque or tartar build-up, it irritates the gum tissue and leads to inflammation. That’s what causes gum swelling and discomfort when you chew or brush. However, if you have a localized area of gum tenderness and swelling, it could be a gum abscess and needs evaluation right away.
Gum disease is a serious problem affecting millions of people worldwide. The symptoms of gum disease often go unnoticed, and it is vital that you recognize the early signs if you are to prevent the condition from worsening. That’s why regular trips to the dentist is so important.
When you’re visiting the dentist for a clean and check-up, it’s crucial that you speak up about any unusual symptoms or pain. Gum disease doesn’t always have painful symptoms but ignoring the warning signs can lead to serious long-term dental problems.
Proper oral hygiene is necessary for a healthy, strong smile. Regular brushing and flossing are a must for removing plaque and regular dental visits are vital for scraping off tartar and diagnosing dental problems early. It’s also important to be on the lookout for warning signs like bleeding gums or tenderness, which could signify gum disease.
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“Gingivitis – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic.” 04 Aug. 2017, mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gingivitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354453.
“Gingivitis – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf.” 07 Nov. 2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557422/.
“How to Cure Gingivitis – Colgate.”colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/gum-disease/how-to-cure-gingivitis.
Human variation in gingival inflammation. Shatha Bamashmous, Georgios A. Kotsakis, Kristopher A. Kerns, Brian G. Leroux, Camille Zenobia, Dandan Chen, Harsh M. Trivedi, Jeffrey S. McLean, Richard P. Darveau. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Jul 2021, 118 (27) e2012578118; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2012578118.
Gum DiseaseBleeding Gumsbad breathreceding gums