Look around right now. See that other person over there? One of you has gum disease.
At least statistically that’s the case. The CDC says almost half of all adults age 30 and over have some form of periodontal disease. Left untreated, it can result in infections, receding gums, and even tooth loss.
If you’re wondering exactly what gum disease is, it’s an infection and inflammation of the gums and the bone that surround and support your teeth. In the early stages, it’s called gingivitis. As it becomes more advanced, it’s called periodontal disease.
At Portrait Dental, we want to keep gum disease from happening to you, which is why we encourage regular dental exams and cleanings. Here are five signs you might be suffering from gum disease.
1. Bleeding gums
If your toothbrush looks bloody after brushing, you’re experiencing one of the earliest, most common symptoms of gum disease.
Your gums start bleeding after brushing or flossing because of a buildup of plaque that makes them more sensitive and prone to bleeding.
If you notice your gums are bleeding, try brushing and flossing more regularly. If nothing changes in a few days, you should make an appointment with your dentist.
2. Red and swollen gums
Healthy gums should be pink. If your gums are red and swollen or puffy, whether just in one spot or all along your gum line, you’re likely in an early stage of gum disease.
Your gums may also be sensitive to touch and temperature. This inflammation is a result of irritation caused by tartar buildup and bacteria.
3. Receding gums
If your gums have pulled back and your teeth appear taller, with their roots exposed, you have reached a more advanced stage of gum disease. Bacteria can reach the exposed root, causing tooth decay.
Treatment once you reach this stage includes scaling, root planing, and antibiotics. If your gums have receded too far, a gum graft may be necessary to restore them.
4. Frequent bad breath
If you feel like your breath always smells, even after brushing and mouthwash, you may be facing a bigger problem than just some odorous food.
Gum disease is caused by bacteria, which can also cause persistent bad breath. The best way to deal with the bad breath in this case isn’t more mouthwash — it’s treating the gum disease.
5. Loose teeth
If your teeth feel loose, weak, or wiggly, this may be a sign of advanced gum disease.
The bacteria we mentioned can cause infections that create pockets beneath the gum line where the gum separates from the tooth. This can cause decay to set in, which can lead to pain and even a tooth extraction.
A procedure called a pocket reduction will bring the gums back around the tooth root, and antibiotics will help get rid of the infection.
If you think you may have signs of gum disease, call our office in Katy, Texas, or use our convenient online scheduler to request an appointment. Don’t wait too long — your dental health is too important to let slide!