According to the World Health Organization, gum disease affects approximately half of the global population! This ratio holds true right here in America, too, where half of the adults over the age of 30 have some level of gum disease.
Part of the problem may be that many people don’t recognize gum disease symptoms. They may think that their oral health problems are temporary or unimportant. We’re here to tell you that gum disease should be taken seriously! Without treatment, gum disease can lead to bone deterioration and even tooth loss.
Read on to find out more about gum disease symptoms and how to treat them.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an inflammatory disease of the hard and soft gum tissues. It begins in response to the presence of bacteria in the mouth. The stages of gum disease involve worsening symptoms that, if left untreated, can cause permanent damage.
Other diseases, including cancer and HIV, may increase your risk of developing gum disease. Hormonal changes, genetics, and certain medications may also increase this risk. However, the primary source of gum disease is plaque, which is something you can control on your own!
Gum Disease Symptoms
If you are at risk of developing gum disease or have noticed something off about your oral health, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at some of the symptoms of gum disease. If you have one or more of these symptoms, it may be time to seek treatment!
Gum disease begins with gingivitis, your mouth’s response to plaque or bacteria. In an effort to fight off the germs in your mouth, your gums become inflamed.
Inflamed gums are often bright pink or red in color. They may look or feel puffy. You may experience some pain or tenderness in the inflamed areas.
Bleeding often accompanies the inflammation caused by gingivitis. You may notice a bit of pink in the sink after you brush your teeth. You will likely see a bit of blood when you floss.
Bleeding is a sign that inflammation has progressed.
The bacteria in plaque cause toxins to form. If these toxins are not removed on a regular basis, they will produce the bad smell we associate with halitosis.
Almost everybody has halitosis in the mornings but after thorough brushing and flossing, it should go away! If you find that your bad breath persists throughout the day in spite of your oral health routine, you may have gingivitis or early stages of gum disease.
Once gingivitis has progressed into the territory of gum disease, you may start to notice that your gums are receding. At this point, your gums are infected by the bacteria in plaque.
As the infection spreads, it causes the gum and connective tissues to pull away from the teeth. This creates the appearance that your teeth are slightly larger and your gumline is narrower.
You are left with small pockets beneath the tooth and gums. The bacteria will take over that space, worsening your breath. In advanced stages, you may even find what looks like pus in these pockets!
Loose or Misaligned Teeth
As the infection spreads from soft tissue to hard tissue, it starts to break down the bone beneath the gums. This causes teeth to loosen or shift.
Loose teeth are pretty easy to spot but what about misaligned teeth? When your teeth become misaligned, it changes the way you bite and chew. You’ll notice that some teeth don’t come together the way they that used to.
Tooth misalignment can cause jaw and tooth pain. If eating becomes painful or you notice a dull ache in your jaw, it may be related to gum disease.
Read More: 5 Warning Signs of Severe Gum Disease
Treating Gum Disease
Your gum disease treatment will depend on the severity of the disease. The best thing to do is schedule a dental appointment so your dentist can provide a professional assessment of what you’re up against. For now, we’ll go over what some of those treatment options look like.
Change Bad Habits
To prevent gum disease from worsening, you may want to change some of the habits that caused it in the first place. For example, make sure that you are brushing and flossing twice a day and consider using mouth wash. If you smoke, it may be time to come up with a plan to quit.
Get a Deep Cleaning
If your gum disease is not advanced, your dentist can reverse it with a good deep cleaning. Dental tools can get to those hard-to-reach spots along and under the gumline. They can scrape out all the gunk!
Antibiotics can address the infectious bacteria in your mouth. Antibiotics for gum disease come in the form of mouth wash, topical cream, and pills.
In advanced cases, your dentist may suggest gum disease surgery. This can include bone and soft tissue grafts, pocket reduction surgery, and tissue regeneration. Gum disease surgery is not major surgery and the recovery time is fairly short!
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene. Brush and floss, avoid toxins like cigarette smoke, and visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning.
If you already have gum disease symptoms, give your dentist a call even if it’s not the time for your regular cleaning. The faster you confront the symptoms, the smoother your recovery will be! For more helpful tips and interesting facts, bookmark our page and check back with us regularly!