Gum disease is one of the main causes of tooth loss in adults today. It is basically infections of the tissues that support the teeth. Gum disease is unusual in one way – it is painless for the most part. Because of that, most people never know they have it until it is too late. Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that forms daily on the teeth.
The Warning Signs of Gum Disease
If you have any of these warning signs, you need to see your dentist immediately:
- bleeding gums
- swollen and tender gums
- red gums
- gums have pulled away from the teeth
- bad taste in your mouth
- bad breathe
- a change in your bite
- a change in the fit of your dentures
Factors That Increase the Risk of Gum Disease
There are several factors that can put you at risk for developing gum disease. If you smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco, your risk is elevated. The same goes for people who do not practice proper dental hygiene. Plus, some people are prone to gum disease because of genetics. If you have crooked teeth that are hard to clean, you are more prone to develop gum disease.
Pregnant women and individuals with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease, as are those who are on certain medications such as steroids, cancer therapy drugs, and calcium channel blockers.
What To Do If You Have The Symptoms
If you have one or more of these symptoms, set an appointment with your dentist. The sooner you start treatment, the better. The early stages of gum disease are a conditions called gingivitis. If you have it, you will notice red and swollen gums that can be made to easily bleed. If treated at this stage, it is possible for the condition to be reversed. In most cases, a good professional cleaning job will eliminate the condition.
Once gum disease becomes more advanced it is called periodontitis. Almost half of adults in the United States over the age of 30 are affected by it. It can over time lead to the loss of bone and tissue that supports the teeth. As it becomes more advanced, teeth will become loose and can actually move around in your mouth.
Periodontitis most often progresses slowly, but it can go through periods of rapid progression. This is why it is important to have regular dental exams. To learn more about gum disease, click here for a slideshow that will give you more information, and explore some of the more common myths surrounding gum disease.
At Above Dental, creating beautiful smiles is our goal. If you want to have a healthy smile, an experienced team is available to help you. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, it is important to set an appointment as soon as possible in order to reverse gingivitis before it progresses into periodontitis.