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February is Gum Disease Awareness Month, a global effort to raise public awareness of gum disease. Gingivitis and periodontal disease can sneak up on you if you aren’t diligent with your oral hygiene routine. Regular professional cleanings can help stem the progression of gum disease and restore the health of your teeth and gums. However, not everyone is diligent with oral care.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s important that you immediately book a dental visit so you can be checked for gum disease.

 

1. Bleeding gums

The first sign of gum disease is bleeding gums when you brush or floss your teeth. While this can be caused by brushing too hard, or because you’ve started a new flossing routine, it is also a sign that you have gingivitis.

At this stage, the gums often appear pink and healthy, and there are no signs of receding gum lines. Increasing your oral hygiene routine to include brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day, and rinsing with a good antibacterial and fluoride mouthwash may stop the progression.  However, if your gums continue to bleed, it’s time for a trip to your dentist.

 

2. Your gums appear swollen or inflamed and turn from pink to red

When your gums turn red and look swollen or inflamed, your gingivitis is progressing. At this stage, bacteria has built up along your gum line, and you probably have a buildup of plaque and tartar that is feeding the bacteria.  

An increase in your at-home dental routine will not remove tartar, as this is hard, calcified plaque that must be scraped from your teeth and below the gum line. To reverse the gum disease process, your dentist must administer a thorough cleaning, and you may need to use specialized oral hygiene products to help your gums heal.

 

3. You have chronic bad breath

Gum disease occurs due to an explosion of bacteria in the mouth. This can cause chronic bad breath that does not go away, even with the constant use of mouthwashes and breath fresheners. Bad breath can occur with gingivitis and periodontal disease.

 

4. Your gums are receding

As your dental health deteriorates due to the buildup of plaque and tartar, your gums will start to recede. When this happens, you may notice that your teeth appear longer, and you may have an increase in tooth sensitivity due to exposed roots. This symptom indicates that your gingivitis is turning into periodontal disease.

 

5. Pockets begin to form between your teeth and gums

As periodontal disease progresses, pockets form between the gums and teeth. These deep pockets provide an ideal habitat for bacteria to thrive. While you can’t see these pockets, you may notice an increase in gum pain or sensitivity. You may even develop gum infections, which can cause pain and swelling.  

If the infection is severe, you may even see discharge from your gums or taste something foul in your mouth. When this occurs, you need to schedule a deep teeth cleaning that includes scraping the roots of your teeth and cleaning out the pockets. Your dentist may need to prescribe antibiotics to help clear the infections.

 

6. Some of your teeth are loose

The advanced stages of periodontal disease cause a loss of gum and bone tissue. As the structures supporting your teeth deteriorate, your teeth may become loose.

In extreme cases, your teeth can fall out. If you notice that you have one or more loose teeth, your dental health is dire, and you need to seek immediate treatment from your dentist to prevent tooth loss.

 

Consistent Preventive Care is The First Line of Defense

Since the early stages of gum disease often have few, if any, warning signs, it is important to schedule twice yearly examinations and dental cleanings. If you do have gingivitis or periodontal disease, you will need a deep cleaning and more frequent appointments to reverse your gum disease and restore your oral health.

Triangle Dentistry located in Raleigh, NC provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns and implants to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 747-3608.