Ever noticed a little bit of blood in the sink after brushing your teeth too vigorously? This doesn’t automatically mean you have gum disease. But if it’s a recurring problem that happens every time your brush your teeth, this spells a different story.
Bloody gums point to a problem that may be brewing inside your mouth, according to this dentist in raleigh. It’s easy to neglect these minor warning signs and brush them off as unimportant, but it’s your body’s way of telling you something, so don’t ignore them.
So, what are the symptoms of gum disease you should look out for and address? This blog outlines what you need to know.
Periodontitis: What Is It?
Gum disease, which is more formally known as periodontitis is a serious infection of the gums. This disease damages the soft tissue of the mouth, and if you ignore the symptoms, the infection can spread to your jaw bone. An infection of the jaw bone can cause tooth loss. It can even put you at risk of developing more serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and pneumonia.
Luckily, gum disease is preventable and most of the damage can be reversed if the infection is caught in time. You can learn more about reversing gum disease here. The mouth is a clear indication of the quality of our overall health. If you neglect to listen to what your oral health is telling you, there are repercussions for your general health down the line.
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
A common condition that develops before the onset of periodontitis is called gingivitis. This is basically a milder version of gum disease and should be your first indication that something is brewing inside your mouth. If you fail to treat gingivitis, the condition can develop into gum disease with the following symptoms:
1. Inflamed, Red Gums
The human gum line is generally a light pink, purple, or brown color. As soon as this color intensifies to a deeper red, purple or brown, along with inflammation and sensitivity, this is a clear sign of gum infection. Your gums will also feel very sensitive and bleed easily when you brush or floss your teeth.
2. Foul Smelling Breath
Naturally, the mouth is a melting pot of bacteria. But most of these bacteria are necessary for a good standard of oral health. As soon as there is an overgrowth of bacteria, this can cause major issues such as bad breath.
The bacteria feed on plaque, so the more plaque there is on your teeth and gums, the more bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria then begin to release toxins that contribute to foul-smelling breath as well as foul taste in the mouth.
3. A Receding Gumline
Another hallmark of gum disease is a shrinking gumline which can make your teeth appear bigger and longer than usual. This means that gum disease has reached the jaw bone, which causes the gums to separate from the tooth, creating pockets of space. As the gums recede from the teeth, these pockets of space become hotbeds for increased bacteria growth.
4. Very Sensitive Teeth
If your teeth ache when eating or drinking cold food items, this is a clear sign that gum disease could be brewing in your mouth. This is because the sensitive part of the tooth, known as the dentin, is exposed due to receding gums.
5. Wiggly or Unsteady Teeth
If your teeth don’t feel as sturdy in place as they used to or wiggle if you touch them, this is another common symptom of periodontitis. The bone holding your teeth in place is slowly deteriorating, which can cause the teeth to shift about, and eventually, fall out.
What Is the Cause Of Gum Disease?
As you may have already guessed, plaque and bacteria are the main culprits for gum disease. Most of the time, this boils down to poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing and flossing teeth on a regular basis. Aside from this, there are a few other factors that can contribute to periodontitis:
- Significant hormonal changes — these types of fluctuations happen during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause
- Certain illnesses — disease such as diabetes, cancer, and HIV affect the immune system, making you more susceptible to gum disease
- Specific medications — some medicines reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth which usually protects the gums and teeth
- Smoking — this is a major contributor to gum disease as gum tissue is damaged over time and cannot repair itself
You may also be susceptible to gum disease if you have a family history of periodontitis. But this not always guaranteed, there are plenty of ways of preventing gum disease by practicing good oral hygiene and looking after your general health.
What Is the Treatment For Gum Disease?
In order to reverse the effects of gum disease, which is possible, it’s important to catch the infection in time. Look out for the signs of gingivitis which include teeth bleeding when brushing and minor sensitivity. If you notice these symptoms worsening, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Some common treatment options for periodontitis include:
- Deep cleaning — your dentist will use a process known as scaling to scrape tartar and plaque from above and below the gum line
- Root planting — your dentist smooths out the rough surfaces of the roots of your teeth, which encourages the gums to reattach to your teeth
- Prescription medication — you will most likely be prescribed a course of antibiotics as part of your treatment
Prescription medications are available in a number of different forms. They include antiseptic or antibiotic microspheres. These minute gels are inserted into the pockets of your gums and release medication over time. Or, you may also be prescribed antibiotic gels, an enzyme suppressant, or oral antibiotics.
Learn How to Make Your Health and Wellness a Top Priority
If you have been wondering ”what are the symptoms of gum disease?”, we hope this blog has clearly outlined the top signs of periodontitis and what to do about it. The sooner you seek out dental help for these symptoms, the better chance you have of saving your teeth (and health)!
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