Why Gum Disease Shouldn't Be Ignored (and What to Do Instead)

| 8 min read

It might appear that your teeth get all-the-press. But there's an equal amount of attention given to your gum health and more specifically gum disease.

Is gum disease something you should be concerned about?

Yes, if you understand what it is and if you recognize certain symptoms.

Let's start with the basics.

What is gum disease?

The technical term you might hear from your dentist is periodontal disease. However it's referenced, the culprit is a common one.

Like most issues in your mouth the root cause can be traced to bacteria.

The early stages of gum disease (gingivitis) typically begin with a bacterial infection in your mouth. The infection could be sourced in a decayed tooth or within your gum tissue.

Major issues emerge when you ignore the infection. As bacteria begin to multiply and thrive (without treatment) your infection can worsen in its attack on your gum tissue.

Ignoring or avoiding a gum disease diagnosis and treatment can lead to further health complications.

  • Jaw bone erosion
  • Tooth loss
  • Systemic health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.

Once you notice signs and symptoms of gum disease it's vital to seek dental care.

And speaking of...

The common symptoms and signs of gum disease

Again, early attention to any developing oral health condition can save you from more extensive (and potentially costly) dental treatment.

Relative to gum disease the same applies that the earlier you seek a diagnosis and/or treatment the better.

Gum disease symptoms will likely be revealed in a few common scenarios within your mouth.

Swollen, red, tender, or infected gums

When your gums are healthy and minus infection they should appear firm and pink in color. Inflammation in your gum tissue can produce a swelled and/or red appearance.

You might also notice tenderness especially when chewing or brushing your teeth.

Bleeding gums

This symptom often shows up when you are brushing and flossing your teeth. Blood in the sink could be the result of aggressive brushing (gentleness recommended).

It's the frequent appearance of blood that requires attention. Consult with a dentist to seek a cause for bleeding gums - including gum disease.

Receding gums

You might notice that your teeth are pulling away from your gums. Or you could get the impression that your teeth are getting longer.

What's happening might be gum recession. This can result from weak or infected gum tissue.

Loose or misaligned teeth

Your gum and bone tissue provide an anchor for your teeth. When the tissue begins to break down due to infection or gum disease, your teeth can loosen.

You might also notice that your teeth do not fit together properly. Or that your bite is off.

Bad breath

Again, bacteria is to blame. Oral bacteria that are allowed to thrive in your mouth will often attack gum tissue and overtime produce gum disease.

This brings us to the big question...

How do you prevent and treat gum disease?

There are care routines that can help prevent gum disease from occuring. And there are treatments for gum disease once you've been diagnosed - even early stage solutions for reversing gum disease.

Daily oral hygiene routines

  • Brush your teeth a minimum of two times per day.
  • Use a toothpaste containing fluoride.
  • Floss between your teeth and gently around you gum tissue to remove plaque.

Regular dental examinations and teeth cleanings

Schedule a dental check-up two times per year. These preventive dental care appointments provide your dentist the opportunity to check your gum tissue for any signs of gum disease.

Request a teeth cleaning during each of your scheduled examinations. A dental hygienist is trained to remove harmful plaque bacteria before it leads to decay, infection, and gum disease.

Monitor your lifestyle and diet

Tobacco use can increase your risk for gum related issues and gum disease. On the contrary, your dietary choices can also boost your body's defense against dental issues including gum disease.

  • Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in immune boosting vitamins and minerals.
  • Ask your healthcare provider about foods that have the potential to strengthen your immune system and reduce inflammation.

Take advantage of gum disease treatment following a diagnosis

Gingivitis is an early stage condition. The good news is that some cases of gingivitis can be reversed with specific treatment.

Treatment for early and advanced stages of gum disease can include:

  • A deep cleaning (scaling and root planing procedure). Your dentist or a dental hygienist uses laser or ultrasonic technology or manual tools to remove tartar and bacteria from beneath your gum tissue.
  • Prescribed medications that help control bacteria, infection, and also relieve gum disease symptoms.
  • Surgical treatments for more severe and advanced conditions.

Gum disease symptoms can create a number of questions. It's essential to your oral health that you seek answers and solutions for your gum related issues.

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Experience the convenience and cost-effective solutions of virtual dental care

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