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Taking care of your gums is just as important as taking care of your teeth. Your gums protect your teeth and bone by preventing bacteria from causing irritation. Periodontal disease, also commonly known as gum disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
The early stages of gum disease can develop quickly without proper oral care. Here are the early warning signs of gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, and what you can do to stop it.
Teeth can become loose once the infection takes hold beneath the surface of your gum tissue. As the issue intensifies, the gum pockets become deeper. Because the bacteria from gingivitis and periodontitis cause the body’s immune system to attack the gum tissue and bone around the teeth, loose teeth are a common indication of gum disease.
Sensitivity and Discomfort When Eating
Tooth sensitivity can be one of the first signs of gum recession as a result of periodontal disease. When the underlying surface of a tooth (the dentin) loses the perfection of the gum tissue, the outer enamel surface of the tooth begins to experience sensitivity while eating or drinking.
Persistent Bad Breath
Bad breath, or halitosis, that doesn’t seem to go away regardless of brushing your teeth is an indication of gingivitis. Additionally, you may be experiencing a persistent bad taste in your mouth that is caused by an accumulation of plaque on the teeth, which forms a toxin.
Red, Swollen, Bleeding Gums
The bacteria that cause gum disease inflammation may cause your gums to bleed, become red, swollen, or tender. Many patients suffering from gingivitis suffer from gums feeling tender when touched or during brushing; however, the inflammation is not always painful.
Experiencing gum recession may be an indication of periodontitis. If you have noticed your gums beginning to pull away from the edges of your teeth, you may also start to experience heightened tooth sensitivity. This is due to the roots of the teeth where the nerves are located becoming exposed.
Who’s At Greater Risk of Gum Disease?
It is estimated that 50% of adults in the United States have gum disease. Certain factors increase your risk of developing this severe issue, so those at risk of periodontitis should be particularly vigilant if you fall into one of the following categories:
- Taking Certain Medications – Over-the-counter and prescription medications can restrict the flow of saliva, which is essential in washing away germs that cause gum disease.
- Your Age – Adults over the age of 65 have the highest rates of gum disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Poor Diet – A diet lacking sufficient nutrients may lead to a compromised immune system that weakens your natural defenses against infection, including gum disease.
- Smoking – Smoking increases the likelihood of gum disease in addition to decreasing the chances of successful treatment.
- Diabetes – Those who have diabetes have a higher risk of developing infections, including gum disease.
- Genetics – Some are more vulnerable to periodontitis than others due to their DNA.
- Teeth Grinding – Grinding or clenching your teeth can aggravate the condition by putting excessive pressure on the teeth.
- Hormonal Changes – Pregnancy and menopause can cause gums to be more susceptible to gingivitis.
- Anxiety – Stress can make it more difficult for the body to combat infections like gum disease.
When To Call a Professional
The best course of action for combating gum disease is to have regular dental checkups and cleanings. If you are experiencing persistent bleeding or swelling of your gums or notice teeth that look or feel loose, call your dentist right away. The outlook is good if gum disease is recognized early and treated aggressively.
If you are starting to notice any of the early warning signs of gum disease, contact Aubrey Baudean DDS today to schedule an exam.