Our gums are the foundation of our mouth and teeth. We only get one set, and they need to last our whole life– but do you know the signs of potential problems with your gums? Gum disease affects a large portion of the population in the USA alone. It is also a top dental issue among many patients.
It’s time to take gum disease seriously. So what’s the solution?
Acting first by identifying the problem and receiving the right care can help prevent and treat existing conditions before they become worse.
So, what are the signs and symptoms of gum disease?
1. Bleeding gums
This is probably one of the most common and obvious signs of gum disease. It’s important not to scrub your teeth too hard while brushing, but to still be effective while caring for your gums. However, if your gums are still bleeding despite being gentle then it’s important to mention this to your dental health care professional.
2. Tender or sore gums
Your gums being tender or sore can be a sign that your gums are in need of care and attention. Gums in general should not feel bruised, or hurt while you are chewing.
3. Swollen and inflamed gums
This can often be a symptom of infection or even some trauma to the gum tissue.
4. Receding gums
This happens when the gum tissue begins to pull away from around the teeth and expose the root structure. As a result, this can make your teeth appear larger due to the loss of gum tissue.
5. Loss of teeth or loose teeth
Teeth falling out or becoming loose can be the result of gum disease. If gums are not strong enough to hold your teeth, then teeth will begin to become loose and may come out on their own. This can affect the overall structure of your mouth once you start to lose teeth.
6. Painful chewing
When it’s painful to chew and there has been no trauma to your mouth, it can be an indicator of underlying gum issues.
If any of these signs or symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to see your dental health care professional and find out if you have gum disease.
Gums must be vulnerable then?
Your gums, like many other parts of your body, can be subject to illness. Periodontitis, the formal name for gum disease, if left untreated, will affect the structure and stability of your teeth. Without gums, what supports the teeth in the mouth?
As mentioned your gum tissue can be subject to illness, but it can also link to other illnesses in your body. In fact, gum disease has been linked to chronic and life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, premature birth, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. These all have the potential to impact a person if left untreated, just like gum disease does. While this list of overall health conditions seems intense, the list does not end there. In fact, periodontal/gum health is even linked to the health of your skin.
Ultimately the goal is to have a whole health outlook. The entire body benefits from a healthy oral cavity and gum tissue.
So what can a patient do to prevent gum disease?
Being aware is key, and looking at your gum tissue to monitor it at home. Healthy gums are pink and fit tightly and firmly around the tooth. Look at where the gum tissue surrounds the tooth, and see if it looks like your tooth is longer in appearance.
Good oral hygiene care at home is a key component to maintaining healthy gum tissue but also to reduce the risk of gum disease. Brushing twice daily for two minutes each time with a soft or extra soft toothbrush (electric or manual) helps to condition the gum tissue to a healthy status. Flossing daily (with string floss, floss picks, or water flossers) can help to reduce bacteria under and between the gum tissue and the tooth.
These two activities are like exercise for your gum tissue and will help to maintain things long term.
Visit Dentists for Extra Help
Regular dental visits can help to monitor the condition of your teeth and gum health. X-rays that are taken routinely to help to monitor bone levels surrounding the tooth structure and in turn can help monitor gum tissue levels.
In addition to x-rays, your dental hygienist and dentist will measure your gum levels to ensure they are supporting your teeth properly. These measurements can also assist in evaluating how successful you are with your oral hygiene home care routine.
Being mindful of your overall health is important as we mentioned because if other health conditions are not well-maintained or under the control of a physician, these things can directly correlate to unhealthy gum tissue.
Your dentist and dental hygienist are experts in caring for gum health, and in caring for YOU. The first step is to talk to your dental health care professionals about any observations or questions you have about your gum health.
Learn more about what Dr. Wilmer can do for your continued dental health, make an appointment today to prevent gum disease, and enjoy a healthy smile forever!