Gum disease can be painless and goes unnoticed until you are in the advanced stages of periodontitis. Your gum health is important to your overall oral health because periodontal disease can cause tooth loss and bone resorption.
There are gum disease symptoms you can look out for that indicate you may have gum disease. Watching for signs of gum disease, along with a good at-home oral hygiene routine and regular dental exams and hygiene cleanings, can help you avoid periodontal disease.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Food becomes trapped in the space where your teeth and gums attach. Without consistent brushing and flossing, plaque builds up on your teeth and eventually hardens into tartar.
Your gums become infected once the plaque advances below the gum line. You may notice that your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or your gums are swollen and tender. This may be a sign of gingivitis.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It can be reversed by brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, using an antibacterial mouthwash, and visiting your dentist every six months or more often if recommended.
Untreated Gingivitis Progresses to Periodontitis
If you don’t treat gingivitis, it will progress to periodontitis, a more serious form of periodontal disease where your gums pull away from your teeth and form pockets. Bacteria collects in these spaces and eventually breaks down the bone and connective tissue, supporting and holding your teeth in place. If the periodontal disease remains untreated, your teeth loosen and may have to be extracted.
Common Gum Disease Symptoms
The symptoms you experience vary depending on the stage of periodontal disease, but these are some of the most common signs of gum disease.
Swollen, Tender, Bleeding Gums
Without a regular dental hygiene routine, a buildup of plaque irritates your gums, making them red, tender, swollen and likely to bleed. Plaque is attacking the healthy gum tissue around your teeth, causing your gums to become inflamed. This is the first sign of gingivitis.
Persistent bad breath is a sign of poor oral health caused by tooth decay and gum disease. Bad breath that doesn’t go away results from the gases released by the bacteria that coat your teeth, gums and tongue.
As your gum disease advances, your teeth look longer because the gums are receding.
Gum recession exposes the tooth root leaving your teeth at risk of decay, infection and extraction.
Healthy gums fit securely around your teeth. The distance between the gum tissue and the tooth should be between 1-3 mm.
Dentin hypersensitivity can occur when you crunch ice, consume hot or cold drinks or expose your teeth to cold air. Exposed tooth roots and thin enamel can make your teeth more sensitive to temperatures.
What Else Affects Your Gum Health?
In addition to the symptoms of gum disease, other factors place you at risk of gum disease.
Hormonal Changes in Women
The fluctuation in hormones can make your gums more sensitive and more likely to bleed. Pregnant and menopausal women should schedule more frequent dental cleanings to help combat gum disease.
Medications, including those for cardiovascular issues and chemotherapy, can cause dry mouth reducing saliva flow, making you more vulnerable to gum disease. Always discuss the medications you are taking with your dentist.
Smokers have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease than non-smokers. Because smoking weakens your immune system, it also makes it harder for your body to fight off a gum infection.
Diseases like diabetes, leukemia and cancer, as well as their treatments, can adversely affect your gum health.
Treating Gum Disease at MyHM Dentist
If you suspect you have gum disease symptoms, our dental team can evaluate your oral health and prescribe periodontal disease treatment.
For gingivitis, an efficient at-home hygiene routine and regular dental exams can help reverse this stage of gum disease. If you are diagnosed with mild periodontal disease, we will perform a scaling and root planing to manage the condition.
For moderate to advanced periodontal disease, you will be prescribed surgical intervention to restore your oral health. This may be pocket reduction surgery, soft tissue grafts, guided tissue regeneration, tissue-stimulating proteins or a bone graft.
Your dentist may also prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to help control infection.
Book Your Dental Exam
At MyHM Dentist, we are proud to serve you and your family in a friendly and caring atmosphere. If your gums are red, swollen and tender or show signs of receding, contact our practice for a dental exam so we can evaluate your oral health and restore your healthy smile.
Call us now on (02) 9158 6379 for a consultation.