Gum disease is more common than you might think. In fact, it’s estimated that half of all American adults have some form of gum disease. That means approximately 64.7 million Americans are dealing with the issue. If you fear you may be one of the unlucky ones, check out the 6 things to look out for to determine if you might be suffering from gum disease.
- Red Swollen Gums
One of the earliest signs of gum disease is red and swollen gums. Typically this is a sign of gingivitis, which is the beginning stage of gum disease. If you have noticed that your gums are a bit more red, swollen, or painful than normal, step up your oral care routine. Brushing teeth twice each day in combination with daily flossing may be all you need to do to reverse the impact of gingivitis. It’s also a good idea to visit your dentist twice per year for a professional cleaning. This will get rid of the additional build up of plaque and tartar on your teeth that brushing and flossing can’t handle.
- Gums That Bleed Easily
Bleeding gums are often a sign that you have or are at risk for gum disease. After plaque on the teeth has hardened into tartar, it can cause an increased risk of bleeding gums. If left untreated, this can progress into periodontitis, which is a more advanced form of gum disease. If your gums are bleeding frequently, it’s important to visit your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning. If your dentist feels that you are at risk for developing a severe form of gum disease they may suggest that you come in more frequently than twice a year.
- Bad Breath
Bad breath can mean many different things, but it is a big indicator of gum disease. If you have persistent bad breath or constantly have a bad taste in your mouth, you may have gum disease. The more plaque builds up on teeth, the more bacteria will grow in your mouth. This bacteria can irritate gums as well as cause bad breath that isn’t alleviated easily.
- Painful Gums and Teeth
As gum disease advances, your gums become more irritated and painful. Once gum disease has progressed into periodontitis, bacterial toxins and enzymes begin to destroy the connective tissue and bone. As gums begin to draw back, the roots of teeth are exposed. This can cause extreme sensitivity to teeth and put you at risk for the development of new cavities.
- Receding Gums
As bacterial toxins continue to spread throughout your mouth, your gums may begin to pull back from the teeth. At this point, the pocket between your teeth and gums will begin to deepen. This puts gums at risk for bacterial invasion. If you have noticed receding gums, this likely means that gum disease has been active for some time now. Visit your dentist as soon as you possibly can to stop the disease from advancing further.
- Loose Teeth
By the time you notice loose teeth, your gum disease is at an advanced state. The infection of your gums will have spread to the point that it is now affecting the bone, causing the tooth to shift or become loose. It is absolutely essential that you see a dentist immediately in order to avoid losing your teeth.
In the beginning stages, gum disease is somewhat harmless. With diligent oral care and frequent trips to the dentist, you should be able to control your symptoms. However, once the disease begins to advance, you are at risk for a whole host of issues. If you suspect you may have gum disease, speak with your dentist. They will be able to give you a diagnosis, as well as explain your prognosis in detail. To read more about gum disease please download our free eBook titled, "7 Step Checklist to Determine if You Have Gum Disease."