Gum Disease

Hurting Your Gums

Have you noticed that your gums are redder than they used to be – or that the simple act of brushing leaves them bleeding? Those are two surefire signs of gum disease, and it is something you should have professionally diagnosed as soon as possible.

Known as periodontitis, gum disease can lead to a host of severe oral health problems such as tooth loss – and the bacteria involved in gum disease can even lead to health concerns in other parts of your body, including respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease and problems controlling blood sugar in diabetes.

Granted, those are extreme scenarios, but they are very much possible should you ignore the symptoms of gum disease. Therefore, periodontitis, is something to be wary of, no matter your age.

The good news is that strong oral health, such as brushing twice daily, flossing, and bi-annual trips to the dentist can help you avoid gum disease. However, many people suffer from periodontitis regardless of their oral vigilance, so it is important to be aware of the signs of gum disease.

Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Swollen or puffy gums that are bright or dusky red or even purplish
  • Continuously tender gums
  • Blood resulting from tooth brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Presence of pus between teeth and/or gums
  • Spaces developing between teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Bite changes/painful chewing
  • Unexplained tooth loss

Gum disease can begin at any age, but the obvious signs most often begin to present in your 30s and 40s. And if you have gingivitis (which is actually the mildest form of gum disease), smoke and/or use chewing tobacco/dip, are obese, or have inadequate nutrition (especially a lack of vitamin C), you are at an increased risk for gum disease. The same goes for people undergoing hormonal changes, are on certain medications that cause dry mouth, or have a condition that causes decreased immunity or certain disease such as Crohn’s disease, arthritis, or diabetes. Some people are also genetically predisposed to suffer from periodontitis.

woman being checked for gum disease

Gum disease is born from the same bacteria that causes the formation of plaque on your teeth. Untreated, that bacteria hardens and turns into tartar – which is more difficult to remove and even requires professional help to completely banish. Tartar’s presence may then develop into gingivitis (irritation and inflammation of the gum tissue around the base of the teeth). Unchecked, gingivitis will develop into periodontitis, which will eventually lead to tooth loss and worse.

The good news is that, in most cases, gum disease can be prevented by good oral hygiene and a watchful dental health professional. However, if you develop a more severe case of gum disease there are nonsurgical and surgical treatments that may offer relief.

To try and avoid periodontitis, please brush and floss regularly – and use a “soft” bristle toothbrush to do so, replacing it at least every three months. You should even consider utilizing an electric toothbrush, which can be more effective at removing plaque and tartar. Above all, ensure that you visit your dentist regularly (twice yearly).

If you suspect that you have gum disease, please do not hesitate, call our offices today at 678-582-8099 and get it attended to immediately.

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