Gum disease can sneak up on you if you don’t know what to look for.
It starts out in a mild form called gingivitis, which rarely causes pain, so you’ll probably see the signs before you feel anything unusual. You might notice that your gums are red or swollen, or that they bleed after you brush or clean between your teeth.
A professional cleaning will help you tackle gingivitis, but it is important to do your part by brushing at least twice a day for two minutes and cleaning between your teeth as well.
If not treated, gingivitis can progress into a much more serious condition called periodontitis. Periodontitis affects your gums and breaks down the bone and other tissues that hold your teeth in place and can cause tooth loss. Some signs of periodontitis are:
- receding gums that may make your teeth look longer
- teeth that are loose or shifting in your mouth
- a change in the way your teeth fit together
- bad breath or a bad taste that won’t go away
With proper treatment and care, a dentist can help you to get rid of periodontitis, but just like with gingivitis, you’ll need to take care of your teeth and gums at home too.
WATCHING OUT FOR GUM DISEASE
Between dental visits you can watch for signs of gum disease. You might ask yourself these questions:
- Do my gums see red and puffy?
- Do my gums bleed when I brush or clean between my teeth?
- Do I have any permanent teeth that feel loose?
- Do my teeth look like they are getting longer? Do I see more of the roots?
- Is there a tooth that has moved or is suddenly crooked?
- Do my teeth fit together differently when I bite down?
Anyone can get gum disease, but there are several factors that increase your risk.
- Poor Oral Hygiene – Caring for your teeth and gums every day helps protect against gum disease. This means brushing your teeth every day for two minutes and cleaning between your teeth.
- Tobacco Use – Recent studies have shown that tobacco use in the form of cigarette, cigar or pipe smoking, as well as smokeless tobacco use, are significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease. In turn, research links periodontal disease to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes, respiratory disease and premature babies. (1)
- Illness – Some conditions like diabetes, osteoporosis, or cancer and cancer treatment can increase the risk of gum disease. Be sure to let your dentist know about your overall health as it will help them be aware of any special needs you may have.
- Medications – Some medications may affect your gums, like those used for high blood pressure or heart conditions. Let your dentist know what medications you are taking so they can provide better care.
- Pregnancy – During pregnancy, a woman can become more sensitive to the bacteria that cause gum disease.
Ultimately, you know your mouth better than anyone else. Keep an eye out for the signs of gum disease, and let your dentist know if you notice anything unusual.Leave a reply →