Gum disease begins to affect people once they reach their 30's, and men are more at risk for developing gum disease than women. Early detection of gum-related problems is crucial for effectively treating the condition before it's too late. The initial stages of gum disease are often painless, leaving them to go undetected until it's too late.
Here are the seven signs of gum disease and what you can do to reverse its damage.
Teeth that appear longer than they once were may appear that way because the gums surrounding them are receding away. Gum recession is a sign that gum disease is progressing. In later stages of gum disease, these pockets become deeper, and gum disease continues to worsen until you are faced with permanent tooth loss.
The bacteria that cause gum disease inflammation may make your gums swollen, red, or tender. For many suffering from gingivitis, the swelling is not necessarily painful or even noticeable. As a result, gingivitis can be challenging to detect if you're not paying close attention to your gum tissue.
Your gum tissue should never bleed after brushing and flossing. As a general rule, if you do not floss frequently, bacteria buildup below the gum tissue may cause your gums to bleed after cleaning. Inflammation may also make your gums bleed in addition to them becoming hypersensitive and swollen.
Gum recession can lead to severe tooth sensitivity. In these cases, sensitivity can be an indication of gum disease. Chronically inflamed gum tissue exposes the root surface of the teeth, making them more sensitive. Exposed tooth roots are more susceptible to tooth decay, sensitivity, and potentially tooth loss. If you're experiencing tooth sensitivity, you should speak with your dentist to see if it is related to gum disease.
Bad breath, or halitosis, that won't go away regardless of brushing and flossing may be caused by an accumulation of plaque on the teeth. The toxin-forming layer of plaque often gives off a persistent bad taste in the mouth.
If you bite down and suddenly your alignment doesn't feel the same, it could be an early indication of gum disease. A change in how the teeth fit together when you bite is often due to the underlying, supporting tissue of the teeth being under attack. The bone and ligaments that attach the bone, teeth, and gums are all connected. If this supporting tissue is destroyed, it can lead to a change in your bite and, eventually, permanent tooth loss.
Your teeth can become loose when infection takes over beneath the gum tissue. As the disease intensifies, the gum pockets become deeper due to the body's response system. Once the bacteria from gingivitis and periodontitis cause the body's immune system to attack the gum tissue, the bone around the teeth decreases. The decrease in the gum tissue and bone can quickly lead to permanent tooth loss.
While using proper brushing and flossing helps to prevent gum disease, regular dental visits are also vital. Removing harmful plaque that can't be removed at home is necessary to prevent gingivitis from taking hold. In general, brush your teeth twice a day for a full two minutes in addition to flossing once a day to remove left-behind food debris. Seeing your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings will give you peace of mind while allowing for your dentist to watch for early indications of gum disease.
If you've noticed any of these changes in your smile, contact Tompkins Dental today to schedule an exam from our gum disease experts.