When people think of a healthy smile, most of us imagine a set of straight, strong pearly whites. But your oral health is about much more than just white teeth! Your gums also play a major role in keeping your mouth nice and healthy.
Unfortunately, most folks aren’t taking care of their gums the way they should. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, 50% of Americans over age 30 have periodontitis – an advanced form of gum disease that can cause serious problems in your mouth.
While periodontitis is common, it is possible to prevent it from developing in your mouth. All you have to do is practice good oral hygiene – and watch for the early signs of gum disease.
A Few Gum Disease Facts
Gum disease develops when plaque starts to build up on your teeth and along the gumline. In the early stages (known as gingivitis), the disease has only minor side effects. But if the disease is left untreated, periodontitis can lead to a litany of health problems: tooth loss, heart disease, stroke, and much more!
The Signs and Symptoms
As we mentioned earlier, it is possible to keep gum disease at bay. In fact, it’s actually quite easy! Daily brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits, can help keep your gums healthy.
However, even people with great oral hygiene habits can still develop periodontitis. Therefore, it’s important to watch for early signs of gum disease. Tell your dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms:
Red, Swollen Gums
When your gums are suffering from plaque buildup, they become inflamed and irritated. You might notice that your gums start to bleed when you brush or floss. Your gums could even be tender to the touch, causing you constant pain. This symptom is your mouth’s way of telling you that something’s not quite right.
Constant Bad Breath
Plaque buildup can be real trouble for your gums, but it’s a great thing for all the bacteria living in your mouth. Bacteria feeds on plaque, so buildup is a chance for them to have a feast! Unfortunately, that hungry bacteria release toxins as they feed – and that can give your breath a nasty smell. If you have frequent bad breath (and if a mint isn’t enough to cover the odor), you might be suffering from gum disease.
As gum disease progresses, it can cause your teeth and gums to separate from one another. This pulling away is known as “gum recession.” It may not be easy to spot – after all, most of us don’t spend our time measuring our gum lines – but it is a clear sign that something is wrong with your gums. If you notice that your teeth appear longer than they used to be, tell your dentist right away.
Loose Permanent Teeth
Gum disease primarily attacks your gums (hence the name). However, it can also impact other parts of your mouth and jaw – particularly the bones that hold your teeth in place. As a result, people with advanced gum disease might notice their adult teeth getting wiggly and loose. If you notice that your teeth feel loose, or your bite starts to change, your dentist should take a look at your gums.
How to Treat Gum Disease
If you are experiencing the symptoms of gum disease, it’s important that you alert your dentist right away. He or she will be able to examine your mouth and determine the best treatment for your unique needs. Whether you need a deep cleaning, a gum graft, or any other procedure, your dentist will be able to ensure your smile stays healthy and beautiful.
To schedule an appointment with Meadows Dental Care, call our office today!