Gum disease is an oral health condition that is not limited to affecting adults. It can affect anybody that has oral health problems, including small children. Not taking care of your teeth puts you at a higher risk of developing gum disease at any age, which is why it is important to know the signs and risks of gum disease so you can take action.
Types of Gum Disease
You may have heard of the terms gingivitis and periodontitis but might not be sure what the differences are.
Gingivitis refers to gum disease in its early stages. Gingivitis can cause bleeding or inflamed gums due to not consistently brushing your teeth. Thankfully, gingivitis can go away if you improve your oral health routine by flossing and brushing regularly. It is possible for your gums to be healthy again by paying more attention to how you take care of your teeth.
Periodontitis is gum disease in its severe form. Periodontitis has the ability to impact the health of your whole mouth, causing areas to be swollen due to plaque buildup. In extreme situations, your teeth can become loose due to the infection. Periodontitis can be treated, but the process will be much more difficult than if you caught it early on.
Signs of Gum Disease
There are several signs that you can look for to catch gum disease in its early stages. Here are some of the most common.
The color of your gums can say a lot about your health. Do they look more red than usual? Redness in your gums is caused by plaque forming and causing inflammation in the gums. Red gums are worth mentioning to your dentist so that they can inspect the issue further.
Do you constantly have bad breath that doesn't go away after you brush your teeth? While it could be due to halitosis or rotting food stuck between your teeth, it is possible that bad breath is an early sign of gum disease. The smell is caused by the gases that the bacteria releases while in your mouth, and if that bacteria is in your gums, simply brushing your teeth once won't cause it to go away.
Pain While Chewing
Do you have generalized pain when eating? This pain can be caused by the general inflammation in your gums that is affecting your teeth as a whole. Sometimes the pain can also be caused due to tooth decay and in a single tooth, which is a result of not practicing good oral hygiene
Gum disease can also cause your gums to bleed when eating, brushing, or flossing. One thing to keep in mind is that bleeding is not necessarily a more severe sign of gum disease, since it is often painless and the only sign people experience. However, bleeding should never be ignored.
Treatments for Gum Disease
In addition to brushing and flossing regularly, there are a couple of ways to treat gum disease.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is essentially a deep cleaning of your teeth. Your dentist will remove the hardened plaque off your teeth that is both above and below the gumline. The goal is not only to remove the plaque but also create smooth teeth that have fewer areas where germs can collect.
If your dentist determines you have an infection, they may prescribe you a medication to help fight it. Medications can include antibiotics, mouthrinses, and gels.
If you have noticed any signs of gum disease, Kyle J Frisinger DMD can provide you with more information on treatments.