Gum disease is one of the most common oral health problems, and it can lead to a variety of other issues such as tooth loss. Despite the fact that gum disease is highly common, many people don’t know much about what gum disease is and how it can affect their oral health. This blog will discuss what gum disease is, how it develops, some common symptoms, and preventative measures you can take to help reduce your risk of gum disease.
For starters, gum disease is a condition that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. There are two forms of gum disease- gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is inflammation or irritation that causes redness and swelling in the gums around the teeth. When not treated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis. Periodontitis is when the tissues that hold your teeth in place, such as the periodontal ligament, cementum, and alveolar bone, become infected. When this happens, it can lead to bone loss and can cause the teeth to become loose or even fall out. In fact, periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Gum disease usually begins with plaque buildup on your teeth from poor brushing habits, food particles left behind after eating, or bacteria from not flossing enough. However, gum disease can also be made worse by a number of factors, including poor oral hygiene, smoking, diabetes, and genetics. It can also develop as a result of other health conditions such as pancreatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and AIDS.
The best way to manage gum disease is to recognize it early so that you can visit your dentist for the necessary treatment. Some of the most common signs of gum disease include:
Inflamed Gum Tissue
Healthy gums are a coral pink color and are firmly attached to the tooth roots. If your gums are inflamed, however, they will be dark pink or red in color, swollen or puffy, and/or appear loose around the base of the teeth. Oftentimes, inflamed gums may even bleed when you brush your teeth, floss, or bite into certain foods, like an apple. All these signs of inflammation signal that you should schedule a visit with your dentist.
If you have bad breath that doesn’t go away no matter how much you brush your teeth or use mouthwash, it could be a sign of gum disease. Halitosis, or bad breath, is caused by bacteria in the mouth that break down food and produce stinky sulfur compounds. When these bacteria congregate around the gum line, they can cause your breath to remain excessively smelly.
If you find that your teeth are unusually sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks, it may be a sign that you have gum disease. When the gums become inflamed and recede from the teeth, it can expose the sensitive tooth roots. This can lead to discomfort when eating or drinking anything that is hot or cold, and is especially common towards the front of the mouth where the teeth are most likely to come into contact with different temperatures.
Gum disease is a common oral health issue that can lead to tooth loss, discomfort from eating hot or cold foods, and bad breath. The best way to prevent gum disease is by maintaining good dental hygiene habits such as brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and having your teeth cleaned every six months. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, talk to your dentist about gingivitis or periodontitis treatment options today!