You probably pay a lot of attention to taking care of your teeth, but do you sometimes forget about the gums? They also play a huge role in maintaining good oral health. Without proper care of your gums, gum or periodontal disease can cause loss of teeth or bone in the mouth. Sometimes, there are no symptoms at the onset of gingivitis or gum disease. You may not realize there is even a problem. There are some ways your gums will let you know there are problems. Watching for these signs, maintaining good oral hygiene habits, and talking with Marietta dental professionals can help you avoid gum disease in many cases.
What is gum disease?
Periodontal disease or gum disease is an inflammatory condition affecting the gums or tissues that surround and support the teeth. For adults, this is a major cause of tooth loss. It is usually painless, but if it is not treated it can wreak havoc in the mouth and cause tissue damage and the loss of teeth or bone. It can range from mild forms like gingivitis to severe, chronic types that cause serious damage to the tissues. Chronic gum disease is the most advanced form and it progresses very slowly. The key to controlling and treating gum disease is early detection and intervention to keep it from worsening.
What are the causes of gingivitis and gum disease?
Food can get trapped between the space where the gums and teeth are attached. This area just below the gum line is susceptible to catching food and debris every day every time you eat. Regular brushing and flossing remove the food and debris. Without these crucial daily oral care habits, bacteria builds up to form plaque on the teeth. If plaque is allowed to advance without intervention, it will become harder and turn into tartar. When plaque extends below the gum line, it can lead to the gums becoming infected. The gums may turn red, become inflamed, and bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed by maintaining a good brushing and flossing regimen and by regular professional cleaning by Marietta dental professionals.
What if gingivitis is left untreated?
When gingivitis is not treated quickly enough, it can advance to periodontitis. This may cause larger spaces to form as the gums start to pull away from the teeth. When this becomes infected, the plaque will continue to spread below the gum line. Your immune system will kick in to fight bacteria, but it can also start to break down connective tissue and bone that holds the teeth securely in place. Eventually, untreated gingivitis can end up with loose teeth that will need to be extracted.
Five Signs of Gingivitis and Gum Disease
- Gums are bleeding, swollen, or sore. If you notice tenderness or aching in your gums it may be a sign of gum disease. When your gums are healthy, they do not bleed during normal brushing and flossing routines. Inadequate brushing and flossing allow bacteria to build up and create dental plaque which will irritate the gums. In response, they may turn red, swell, or bleed. The first signs of gingivitis or other problems are often bleeding when you brush your teeth.
- Receding gums is often a sign of the early onset of gum disease. You may not notice a difference right away, but you may notice your teeth looking longer. When gums recede away from their normal position on a tooth, it is cause for concern. The gums cover the root of the teeth and protect them. Gum recession can expose the roots and put the tooth at a higher risk of infection, decay, and loss. Healthy gums fit up around the tooth snugly.
- Persistent bad breath can be a sign of excessive bacteria in the mouth, tooth decay, or gum disease. While everyone has an occasional bout with halitosis, it should go away. If it does not, talk to Dr. Caceres about examining your mouth for possible gum disease or gingivitis.
- Overly sensitive teeth can be the result of exposed roots or thinning tooth enamel. If you experience sensitivity that progressively gets worse, contact your Marietta dental professionals.
- Shifting or wiggly teeth can be an indication of a problem with your gums. When your gums change in response to gingivitis or gum disease, they don’t properly hold the teeth in place. You may notice wiggly or loose teeth when you bite down on something.
What should I do if I have any of these signs of gingivitis or gum disease?
The most important thing to do if you have any of these early signs of gingivitis or gum disease is to contact Dr. Caceres. The earlier a problem is detected, the more effectively it can be treated. Routine visits and regular exams are helpful in detecting signs of gum disease early so it is more easily treated. Schedule your exam today!