Could you be one of the 75% of Americans over the age of 35 that is affected by periodontitis? Unfortunately, gum disease can sometimes present with no symptoms, so the best way to detect this serious oral health issue is to visit your dentist every six months. That said, there are a few warning signs that may occur that should instantly set off the alarm bells. Here are a few ways to catch some of these warning signs, so you can head to your dentist straight away.
1. Don’t ignore bleeding gums.
If your gums begin to bleed when you floss or brush your teeth, take notice! Many patients believe bleeding gums is simply a result of brushing or flossing too vigorously. However, this is actually one of the earliest warning signs of gingivitis. Gingivitis is an infection of the gums and the first stage of gum disease. Luckily, this early stage of gum disease is easily treatable, so be sure to visit your dentist before the issue progresses.
2. Consider bad breath a warning sign for potential health risks.
We understand that bad breath, or halitosis, can make people self-conscious and, therefore, have a harder time addressing the issue. However, bad breath can actually be indicative of a variety of health concerns—including gum disease. Periodontitis causes your gum tissue to form deep pockets, which can trap odor-causing bacteria and food debris. Over time, this will leave an unpleasant smell on your breath. That said, chronic bad breath can also be symptomatic of other health concerns like gastrointestinal issues, tonsillitis, and even dry mouth, so you should address the problem with a medical professional regardless!
3. Take notice if your teeth look longer.
The appearance of elongated teeth is actually caused by gum recession. This is when your gums pull back off of your dental enamel, and is usually a result of advanced gum disease. This means that harmful bacteria have damaged the gum tissue to a point where it pulls away from the base of your teeth. Therefore, if you’ve noticed signs for receding gum lines, make an appointment to visit your dentist straight away.
4. Address your issues with teeth sensitivity.
Does it hurt to eat hot soup or drink a cold glass of water? If so, this could be your mouth’s way of trying to tell you something! Dental sensitivity often means that the root or pulp of your tooth is somehow exposed to external stimuli (when it would normally be protected by dental enamel or gum tissue). On the one hand, this could mean that you have tooth decay that has worn away at the enamel. However, it could also mean your gum tissue is inflamed and exposing the root as a result of gum disease.
5. Never ignore pain or swelling.
Inflammation is your body’s way of trying to eject harmful bacteria from your tissues. Therefore, if your gums feel painful or look red and swollen, this could be a warning sign for gum disease. These infections can progress over time, causing serious damage to your gums and even your jawbone—in fact, you could even lose teeth as a result. Therefore, make sure you address these issues with your dentist as soon as you notice them.
If you’ve noticed any of these warning signs for gum disease, be sure to schedule a dentist appointment as soon as possible. Call Oradent Associates in Chicago today to plan your visit!