Did you know that 75% of patients over the age of 35 have been impacted by some form of gum disease? This oral health issue is much more prevalent than you might think! However, many patients often don’t realize they are suffering from the disease—either they don’t recognize the symptoms or they don’t exhibit any at all! Unfortunately, this can lead to serious issues if left untreated, including severe illness like heart disease, stroke, respiratory illness, and pregnancy complications. Therefore, it is important to diagnose and treat gum disease in its earliest stages. The best way to do so is to visit your dentist every six months. However, you should also be aware of common symptoms of this disease. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may be at risk of gum disease and should be sure to visit your dentist immediately.
1. Do your gums tend to bleed after brushing or flossing?
If so, it is possible you may have thought that you were just brushing or flossing too vigorously. However, this is not usually the case! In fact, bleeding gums is a sign of inflammation or infection. This is known as gingivitis, and it is caused by bacteria buildup along your gum line. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontitis (gum disease) and, luckily, the most treatable. Therefore, be sure to pay a visit to the dentist at the first sign of bleeding gums.
2. Are your teeth starting to look longer?
The appearance of elongated teeth is actually a result of a receding gum line. If you have gum disease, the bacterial infection can destroy the gum tissue and cause it to pull back from the teeth. This is a definitive warning sign for the disease and should not be ignored.
3. Do you suffer from halitosis (or bad breath)?
Bad breath is not always indicative of gum disease—it can result from a number of issues including gastrointestinal disorders, smoking, and even dry mouth. However, in some instances, odor-causing bacteria multiplies and leads to an infection of the gums. Therefore, check your breath for an unpleasant odor or consider whether you consistently have a bad taste in your mouth. If you do, then it is important for a dentist to assess your gums.
4. Do your gums appear to be swollen or feel tender?
Inflammation, swelling, and pain are your body’s way of warning you of an underlying issue at hand. These symptoms often occur when your gums are trying to reject the harmful bacteria that are attacking your gums and causing infection. If left untreated, this can lead to a number of issues—including damage to your jaw bone and even tooth loss.
5. Are your teeth sensitive to heat and cold?
While teeth sensitivity on its own does not always necessarily point to gum disease (it could also signify tooth decay), it can definitely accompany periodontitis. Chronic inflammation of the gums can expose the nerve of your tooth. This makes your teeth particularly sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Regardless of the cause of your dental sensitivity, it is important to get the problem treated.
Visiting your dentist every six months is a critical component for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease. To schedule your next dentist appointment, contact Fairview Dental Group in Westmont today!