What Are the Signs of Gum Disease?
We are told to brush and floss our teeth every day to ward off cavities, but that’s not all it’s good for!
Another major consequence of poor oral hygiene is gum disease.
These diseases, specifically gingivitis and periodontitis, can have devastating effects on your oral health. However, being informed about the signs of gum disease can help you catch the problem early, meaning that you can get the treatment you need to get regain adequate oral health and a bright smile.
Potential causes of gum disease
While neglecting your oral hygiene is one possible cause of gum disease, there are many other potential culprits out there. For starters, there’s a genetic component involved, so if gum disease runs in your family, you’ll want to make sure you are visiting your dentist and dental hygienist regularly. A diet low in vitamin C can also put you at higher risk. Finally, gum disease is often caused by smoking, as it promotes the build up of tartar and plaque while making your mouth less resistant to infections.
Symptoms to watch for
The fact that we tend to focus more on our teeth than our gums, combined with the fact that gum disease often manifests quite subtly, means that it’s often overlooked. This is why it’s so important to know what symptoms to look for. A few of the most common are:
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Red, swollen gums
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
Treatment options for gum disease
The first step is to remove the bacteria laden plaque and tartar build up from your teeth, smoothing the rough spots on your teeth and polishing the teeth to remove stains. This procedure is usually carried out by the dental hygienist and is called scaling and root planing.
If the disease is caught in its later stages, however, a surgical approach may be necessary in order to restore bone and reduce gum inflammation (also known as pockets). Bone and tissue grafts are other common surgical treatments for gum disease.
Worst case scenario
Your overall well-being is strongly related to your oral health, so, if gum disease goes untreated, it can have serious consequences. Gum disease has a bi-directional correlation with heart disease and diabetes, for example.
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