Are You Looking out for These Signs of Gum Disease?
Gum problems can be a strain on everyday life, causing bad breath and giving you bleeding gums when you floss between meals. If it’s more than an inconvenience and is causing you pain, you may have gum disease. Many people aren’t aware of the symptoms and go on without having their teeth checked. Are you looking out for these signs of gum disease?
Gum disease can rear it’s head in many forms, from bleeding gums to bad breath. While it could be that there are other, completely harmless explanations for any of your symptoms, it’s important to keep a close eye on your mouth and visit your dentist regularly. Gum disease can be devastating, but it’s also entirely preventable. Unfortunately, many people don’t know what symptoms to look out for.
What Are the Signs of Gum Disease?
You may have seen all these advertisements warning that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. This bacterial infection is actually extremely common, and most adults experience it at least once during their lifetime. However, left untreated, it can destroy your gums and you could lose your teeth.
There are actually two types of gum disease; the first of which you are probably more familiar with — gingivitis. Gingivitis is a milder form, characterised by swollen, red gums, and bleeding after brushing or flossing.
The direct cause of both types of gum disease is plaque. We all get plaque — that film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. It’s impossible to remove for good, but it’s easy to prevent plaque from causing gum problems. Plaque that isn’t removed properly by brushing or flossing hardens into tartar, making it easier for bacteria to attack the teeth and gums.
If left untreated, gingivitis develops into the second form of the disease: periodontitis (also known as periodontal disease). This is when the tissues that support the teeth (the gums and the jawbone) also become infected. Periodontitis results in more noticeable symptoms, including bad breath (halitosis) and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
What Are the Complications of Gum Problems?
Gum problems can be a minor issue. Brushing incorrectly or not enough, smoking and changing your diet can all cause bleeding gums. This doesn’t mean you have gum disease. However, if you find yourself experiencing additional symptoms, or haven’t seen your dentist in awhile, it’s worthwhile visiting them so that they can identify and treat the cause.
Periodontal disease causes pockets to develop between the teeth and gums, where gum abscesses (collections of pus) can gather, causing pain and discomfort. As the jawbone becomes increasingly damaged and the gums recede, teeth can easily become loose and fall out. Not only is this a cosmetic issue, but it can also make it uncomfortable to eat.
In some cases, untreated periodontitis can make you more susceptible to heart disease. As the gums become inflamed, the bacteria in your mouth can make its way into the bloodstream. In rare cases, a condition called acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) can develop. The symptoms of ANUG are very similar to periodontitis, including painful ulcers and halitosis, but you may also experience a high temperature and difficulty speaking and swallowing. If you think you may have ANUG, it’s important to see your dentist immediately. Our dentists are experienced in treating all forms of gum disease and can advise you on what to do next.
What Gum Disease Treatment Can I Get?
It’s important to look out for the signs of gum disease and see your dentist if you have any of the symptoms.
If gum disease is identified in the early stages (gingivitis), it can be treated easily by changing your oral health habits. Our experienced dentists will recommend a routine that allows you to take preventative measures and get your teeth back into top condition. By brushing twice a day, using an antibacterial mouthwash to kill bacteria and flossing between meals, you’ll significantly improve your oral health. Your dentist may also recommend a scale and polish: a professional clean that removes the plaque and tartar from your teeth.
When bacteria lies on the roots of your teeth, your dentist may recommend a root planing treatment (or debridement). This is a deep clean beneath the gums that remove (or debrides) the bacteria from the roots.
Gum disease can seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Identifying the signs of gum disease early on will make your teeth and gums easier to treat. If you find yourself with bleeding gums or a case of bad breath, it could be harmless, but why leave it to chance? Our dentists in York can provide you with the treatment you need to solve your gum problems.