Chances are good that your dentist has warned you of the dangers of gum disease. But gum disease (also called periodontal disease) can cause serious dangers to your health. Knowing and looking for the signs will help you catch this disease before it progresses. Here are five common signs.
1. Your Gums Start To Bleed
Staying vigilant is your first line of defense against gum disease. In many cases, gums that start to bleed when you brush are the first sign of gum disease.
Plaque on your teeth is usually to blame for bleeding gums. This bacteria-rich substance builds up on your teeth. Especially if you don’t brush and floss regularly, plaque can begin to build up below your gums, causing inflammation. When your toothbrush comes in contact with your inflamed gums, you might start to notice bleeding. Similarly, inflamed gums may also bleed when you floss.
If you have more severe gum disease, you might notice bleeding more often. Your gums may start to bleed when you eat. In some cases, bleeding may start for no apparent reason at all.
2. You Notice Gum Recession
Gum recession is often one of the earliest indicators of gum disease. This is where your gums begin to pull back from your teeth. It can be difficult to spot early tooth recession, but your teeth may start to appear longer.
If you do notice this symptom, it’s important to address it soon. As your gums recede, they start to form pockets of space between your gums and your teeth. Bits of food and various types of bacteria can collect in the pockets. If you can’t get them out, you’ll cause further gum recession.
Seeing your dentist regularly can help you catch the signs of gum recession in the very early stages. When you visit your dentist in Chicago, West Loop, they will often do a test where they measure the degree of gum pocketing you have. This is one way to assess the severity of your gum disease. Deeper pockets often indicate more advanced gum disease.
3. Your Teeth Have Become Sensitive
Sensitive teeth aren’t always caused by gum disease, but newly sensitive teeth are often a sign. As your gums recede from your teeth, they can leave part of the very sensitive root exposed. When this happens, you might notice tooth sensitivity, particularly with hot or cold drinks.
If your teeth have exposed roots, they may be vulnerable to other issues as well. When roots are exposed, teeth are vulnerable to decay and damaging wear on the root. Seeing your dentist is critically important if you have exposed roots, though you may find that using toothpaste for sensitive teeth helps alleviate symptoms.
4. Your Gums Look Red Or Purple
The early stages of gum disease typically don’t involve bleeding or the formation of large pockets around your teeth. Since the disease involves inflammation of your gums, you will often notice that your gums look red or even purplish.
Healthy gums are coral-colored or pale pink. If gum disease is just beginning, you might notice that the edges of the gums (around your teeth) are slowly becoming bright red. Usually, the redness comes with swelling, so your gums may start to look puffy as well. Redness and swelling are two symptoms usually seen together, but it is possible to experience one without the other.
5. You Have Unexplained Bad Breath
Bad breath (medically called halitosis) isn’t always caused by gum disease. Eating pungent-smelling foods can cause it, as can bacterial buildup on your tongue and teeth. However, if you have good oral hygiene and still seem to have bad breath, there might be another cause.
There are a couple of ways that gum disease causes bad breath. Sometimes, bits of food will become trapped in the pockets between your gums and teeth. The heat and moisture in your mouth create an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply, so the bits of food will start to produce a highly unpleasant odor. Bad breath can also happen when gum disease becomes more advanced. With gum disease, bacteria attack your gums and cause decay. That decaying tissue will cause your breath to smell.
Gum disease might sound scary, and it certainly can be. However, if you and your dentist catch it early, gum disease can be treated promptly with minimal effects on your health. Keep an eye out for early indicators of gum disease and make sure you call your dentist if you notice them!