Nearly half of American adults have some form of gum disease, but because the early symptoms tend to be painless and may not even be noticeable in some cases, many people either ignore it or are completely unaware of it. But if you make this mistake, you could eventually find yourself with fewer teeth – and surprisingly enough, an unhealthy heart. For Gum Disease Awareness Month, read on to learn more about the warning signs of this potentially dangerous oral health issue as well as the importance of gum disease treatment.
The Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
As noted above, the symptoms of infected gums are often silent, and you may not notice anything wrong until it has reached the periodontitis stage (which is the point where the gums recede and the teeth could become loose). Visiting the dentist at least twice a year is the best way to catch the more subtle warning signs.
Of course, that’s not to say you’ll never be able to recognize gum disease on your own. If your gums bleed easily or become red and swollen, it’s a sign that you’re suffering from an infection that’s still in its earliest stages. Later on, you might notice your teeth looking longer than they used to, meaning the condition has reached the point where the gums are starting to pull away from the roots. Loose teeth, pus, sores, and persistent bad breath are also symptoms that can mean you have advanced gum disease.
Why You Should Never Ignore Gum Disease
Ignoring gum disease – consciously or not – can lead to serious consequences, some of which are more obvious than others. Long-term damage may include:
- Loss of multiple teeth
- Damage to the jawbone
- Painful abscesses (infected pockets of pus)
- Drifting of the remaining teeth that could affect your ability to eat
- An increase risk for heart disease, diabetes, and complications during pregnancy
How Your Dentist Can Treat Gum Disease
Since the most common cause of gum disease is a buildup of plaque and tartar, sometimes the condition can be reversed with a regular cleaning and better brushing habits. For more severe cases, your dentist might need to perform two deep cleaning procedures known as scaling and root planing. This way, the area below the gumline can be thoroughly cleaned, and the roots of the teeth will be smoothed out to make it easier for them to reattach themselves to the gums.
If you have even the slightest reason to think you might have gum disease, don’t put off your treatment for too long. Get in touch with your dentist today and set up an appointment to have your symptoms properly diagnosed and treated. Doing so could mean saving your teeth for years to come!
About the Author
Born and raised here in Longmont, Dr. Dan Maurer has decided to follow in his father’s footsteps in the field of dentistry and is proud to be working alongside him. He’s driven by a strong desire to help others and is always grateful for the chance to be able to save his patient’s smiles with gum disease therapy. If you’re worried about the health of your gums, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Dan at Longmont Complete Dentistry by visiting his website or calling (303) 772-7000.