Gum disease is an infection of your periodontal tissue, which helps protect and secure your teeth in your jaw. In gum disease, also called periodontal disease, plaque can accumulate on your teeth near your gum tissue, which can cause irritation. When this plaque goes without being removed, an infection can happen. Eventually, gum disease can affect your alveolar bone—the bone surrounding your teeth—which can lead to loose teeth and even tooth loss.
The statistics on gum disease are startling—46% of American adults over the age of 30 will have gum disease at some point. As you age, your risk for gum disease increases. Gum disease ranges from mild—the earliest stage, which is called gingivitis—to more severe. While gingivitis tends to be easier to treat, as gum disease progresses, the condition can become more challenging to reverse.
Although some people won’t experience symptoms of gum disease until it’s become more severe, others will see early warning signs telling them that something isn’t quite right with their oral health. Are you experiencing these symptoms of gum disease?
Your Teeth Are More Sensitive
Sensitive teeth are a symptom of gum disease. When gum disease is present, the gum tissue can actually begin to pull away from the teeth, which can cause your tooth root’s to become exposed. When the tooth’s roots are partially exposed, tooth sensitivity results.
If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, don’t immediately assume it’s because you have tooth enamel damage. You could be seeing a sign of gum disease and not know it, which makes following up with your dentist in Asheville all the more important!
You Occasionally See Blood When Brushing
Seeing blood when brushing your teeth is a sign that gum disease could be present. Bleeding happens because your gums are irritated as a result of plaque accumulating around the gumline, and when you brush your teeth, your gums may bleed.
Even if you only occasionally see blood when brushing your teeth, it’s worth following up with your oral healthcare professional about. Bleeding when brushing may not mean you have periodontal disease—it could also mean you’re brushing your teeth too hard or that there’s another infection present in your oral cavity. Either way, seeing blood when brushing your teeth is not something to ignore!
Your Bad Breath Is Harder to Fight
Experiencing bad breath on occasion or in the morning is normal for most people. However, if your bad breath starts to become more consistent and harder to fight, this could be a sign of gum disease. If your bad breath remains even after brushing and flossing your teeth, or seems to return shortly after you’ve cleaned your smile, you could have gum disease, which won’t go away with brushing and flossing alone and will require more thorough treatment with your Asheville dentist.
The active infection present in gum disease and the bacteria in the oral cavity are what create chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis. If your bad breath is severe or constant—or is also present with a persistent bad taste in your mouth—it’s time to get it checked out by your oral healthcare professional.
Your Gum Tissue Looks Puffy
Gum tissue should appear firm and even. If your gum tissue has a puffy appearance, or looks red or irritated, you could be seeing signs of gum disease. Gum tissue that looks puffy is a sign that your gum tissue is inflamed, which can be indicative of gum disease. Gum inflammation may also impact your immune system, or be a sign of systemic inflammation in the body.
Puffy gum tissue may also correlate with bleeding gums. If you notice either or both of these symptoms, it’s time to follow up with your experienced dentist to see what the problem could be.
What Can You Do?
Fortunately, gum disease is preventable in many cases. Not smoking or using tobacco, visiting your dentist in Asheville for regular checkups and cleanings, and taking proper care of your teeth at home can help prevent gum disease.
However, gum disease can progress without you being aware of it, which is what makes regular checkups with your dentist so important. So what can you do if you suspect you have gum disease?
- First, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist can tell if gum disease is present and recommend a treatment plan to help prevent further damage to your smile. For some people, this will be as simple as a deep cleaning to help reverse the progress of gum disease.
- Maintain excellent oral care at home, especially with daily flossing, twice-daily brushing, and eating healthy. Your dentist will let you know when you need to return for a checkup to see how your gums are doing.
- If you’re expecting a child, it’s important to know that pregnancy can cause hormonal changes that affect your gum tissue. You may experience symptoms of gum disease during your pregnancy, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore them—it’s smart to follow up with your dentist to ensure your smile is healthy, especially since oral bacteria can affect your entire bodily health and even your baby.
Gum disease is a progressive disease, meaning it’ll get worse without intervention. If you’re experiencing any of these signs of gum disease, don’t wait to contact your Asheville dentist. The longer you wait, the more extensive treatment you may need to save your smile.
Play It Safe
When it comes to your gum health, it’s important to play it safe. Your gum tissue plays a vital role in keeping your teeth strong and healthy. As gum disease progresses, your teeth can actually begin to feel loose and eventually fall out. It’s never worth it to ignore signs that something could be wrong with your smile.
Schedule an appointment with us at Saunders DDS to get a comprehensive exam of your teeth and gums by calling us at (828) 277-6060 or using our contact form to request an appointment. We’re here to support your oral health with preventative services as well as treatment for gum disease!