Gum disease develops as the result of an infection in and around your gum tissue. While there are some telltale symptoms, very often gum disease can present asymptomatically. This is why it is so important to schedule regular visits with your dentist, to inspect your overall oral health. Let’s take a more in depth look at some of the signs of gum disease.
What Is Gum Disease?
Brushing and flossing twice a day are your best defenses against gum disease, as these important steps in your oral health can remove plaque that accumulates on the surface of your teeth and along your gum line. If plaque is not removed it hardens to form a substance called calculus, which attracts more bacteria and which becomes very acidic.
Plaque causes irritation to the gums, which makes them sensitive and bleed easily.
Gum disease cannot self resolve and will get worse without treatment.
What Are The Signs Of Gum Disease?
In its earliest stages, mild gum disease is known as gingivitis. If you have gingivitis you may expect to experience
- Swollen or sore gums
- Bleeding gums especially when brushing or flossing
- Bad breath
While you might think initially that your bleeding gums are the result of brushing too vigorously, it is more likely to be the early signs of gum disease, and should be referred to your dentist. A professional dental clean will remove any plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and below your gum line.
If you do experience swollen or bleeding gums you should not stop brushing or flossing, as these are important steps in managing the bacteria in your mouth.
Continue to use a soft bristled toothbrush, angled at the gum line, making small circular motions.
With immediate treatment, gingivitis can be managed, but if it is left untreated it develops into a more advanced stage called periodontal disease. If you have periodontitis the gums that attach your teeth to your gum tissue weaken and may develop pockets or spaces. These spaces or periodontal pockets attract debris and more bacteria, allowing for a more extensive infection. This is a threat to your oral health that can cause your teeth to loosen and even fall out in the more advanced stages.
Signs of periodontal disease include bleeding and swelling of the gums, a persistent bad taste, bad breath and receding gums. You may also experience tooth sensitivity when biting down.
Treatment For Gingivitis And Advanced Periodontitis
Prevention is always better than cure, but the earlier stages of gingivitis can be reversed. Periodontitis cannot be reversed, especially in its advanced stages, and any missing teeth would need to be replaced by artificial teeth. Your dental practitioner may be able to deep clean your tooth roots through planing and scaling to prevent the infection from spreading.
Quitting smoking and ensuring diabetes and chronic health conditions are managed are also important lifestyle tips in managing your oral health.