Gum disease, or periodontitis as it’s known formally, is one of the most common oral health conditions in the United States. The Center for Disease Control has estimated that 47% of adults in the United States suffer from mild, moderate, or severe periodontitis. They also report that number is as high as 70% for seniors. It is considered to be one of the biggest issues in dental health today by many experts.
The leading cause of gum disease in the US is gingivitis. Plaque buildup on the teeth and around the gums causes inflammation, and eventually the bacteria buildup causes the gums to begin to recede, forming pockets around your teeth. As food and debris settle in these pockets, they become infected. In response, the body sends enzymes to fight that bacteria, which in term breaks down the remaining gum tissue even more, until eventually it starts to erode the bone underneath, causing the teeth to loosen. This is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, and it can easily be prevented with routine brushing and flossing.
But how do you know when you have gum disease? Routine dentist visits are a great place to start. Here in our Hackensack office, we treat many forms of gum disease from mild to severe. Here’s a few of the most common symptoms of gum disease to look out for:
Receding Gum Line - This is the first sign of gum disease. Plaque contains a bacteria that causes infection. When the body sends enzymes to fight off this infection, it also breaks down the gum tissue around the plaque buildup. This causes the gum-line to slowly recede, exposing more of the tooth and forming small pockets between your teeth. This is where gum disease starts, and it’s a great way to identify if you may be developing mild gum disease.
Bleeding in the Gums - Gum bleeding is one of the most common symptoms of gum disease. If you often notice blood after flossing or brushing, there’s a chance you might be at risk for gum disease. Be sure to discuss this with your dentist, and remember to floss regularly.
Swollen/Bright Red Gums - Inflammation in the gums is a common sign that gum disease is forming. If you notice that your gums are bright red and swollen all of the time, you may be at risk for periodontitis.
Bad Breath - If you suffer from chronic bad breath, it could be a sign of gum disease. That’s especially true if you also notice a bad taste in your mouth. As the gums recede, bacteria settles between your teeth, causing bad breath.
Lose/Misaligned Teeth - This is a sign of advanced or severe periodontitis, and should not be taken lightly. As the body continues to break down gum tissue, eventually it gets down to the bone that holds the tooth in place. When that bone begins to erode, the tooth no longer has a solid anchor to hold it in place. Eventually, if left untreated, the tooth with come out.
These are the most common signs of gum disease to look out for. The best way of preventing these issues is routine flossing. This helps keep your gums free from debris and bacteria, preventing further loss of gum tissue. Of course, like we always say, brush twice a day and you’ll be able to get rid of much of the plaque that leads to gingivitis and eventually gum disease.
If you or a loved one thinks they may have gum disease, be sure to schedule an appointment to get yourself checked out. We can help you put a plan together than can stop gum disease at the onset.