It’s easy to focus on the appearance of your teeth and neglect your gums. Just because your teeth look healthy, does not always mean your gums are too. It’s important to know what to look for in case you are experiencing early signs of gum disease (Periodontitis). Healthy gums should be pink and firm; if not, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Let’s talk about some warning signs of common gum diseases and problems, and when you should seek professional help.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a common issue, yet is easily left untreated. Our gums are made up of a complex balance of bacteria known as oral microbiome. When the bacteria is disrupted, it can allow harmful bacteria to invade your gums, causing inflammation and tooth decay. The toxins found in plaque combined with the healthy enzymes already found in your mouth, break down the bone and tissue surrounding your teeth. If gum disease is left untreated, the gum tissue and bone continue to be destroyed, leading to tooth loss. There are several stages to gum disease; gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is an early sign of gum disease. It is caused by a buildup of plaque around the gum line, which causes inflammation. Gingivitis is easily treatable with a professional dental cleaning, and regular brushing and flossing. Signs of gingivitis include:
- Plaque buildup
- Irritated gums
- Bleeding while brushing
If left untreated, periodontitis (gum disease) is the next stage of gingivitis. As the gum begins to pull away from the teeth, small pockets form around the teeth that collect debris and become infected. Periodontitis is treatable but requires advanced techniques such as; scaling, root planing, or antibiotics. In some cases, surgery is needed.
Early Warning Signs
Gum disease can be prevented! Regular brushing and flossing will help prevent the early stages of gum disease. It’s essential to pay close attention to your teeth and gums, and call Dr. Ghim right away if you are experiencing any of the following early signs of gum disease:
- Swollen, irritated, or red gums
- Gums that easily bleed
- Constant bad breath
- Receding gums
- Pus between teeth
- Changes in bite
- Loose teeth
- Tooth loss
Take control of your oral health with preventative care like brushing and flossing and scheduling regular dental cleanings. Understanding gum disease and recognizing the early signs will help you maintain a healthy smile for life.