You might be tempted to overlook bad breath or bleeding gums as a minor inconvenience. But these persisting symptoms could be signs of a more serious dental condition.
Gum (periodontal) disease often starts as gingivitis, a bacterial infection that causes gum inflammation. If left untreated, the seemingly harmless gum inflammation can turn into periodontitis and you’ll soon find the bone around your teeth is deteriorating.
When that protective bone tissue is lost, the teeth and gums begin to separate, creating an environment for bacteria to make its home and wreak havoc on your mouth.
Without proper treatment, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and painful abscesses.
So how do you know if you’re at risk for gum disease? Here are some red flags that require a trip to your Asheville dentist:
- Red or swollen gums.
- Bleeding gums, even when brushing or flossing.
- Tender, painful gums when chewing.
- Gums pulling away from your teeth.
- Persistent bad breath.
- False teeth or dentures don’t fit properly.
- Loosening teeth.
Brushing twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular cleanings and checkups are your very best defense against gum disease. That’s because gum disease starts with plaque buildup. Bacteria, mucus and other foreign particles gather on your teeth, forming a sticky substance that eventually hardens into tartar. Proper brushing and flossing will keep your teeth free and clear of plaque buildup. And regular cleanings ensure the removal of any tartar that’s accumulated on your teeth.
Take note that periodontal disease increases with age, typically showing up in your 30s or 40s. In fact, more than 47% of adults age 30 and older have some form of periodontal disease.
Along with proper dental care, be aware of any other health issues, habits or family history that put you at a greater risk for developing gum disease.
Risk factors for gum disease include:
- Immune disorders.
- Undergoing hormonal changes (pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives).
- Medications that cause dry mouth.
- Fillings that have become defective or bridges that no longer fit properly.
- Genetics. Despite good oral care, some people may be predisposed to gum disease if it runs in their family.
If you’re experiencing persistent symptoms of gum disease, make an appointment for a dental exam. We can discuss your symptoms and risk factors (including family history). We’ll also take X-rays to check below your gum line, conduct a thorough examination, and probe your gums looking for pockets where the teeth and gums may be separating.
We’ll work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that may include deep cleaning and teeth scaling or options for managing the symptoms.