5 Signs of Gum Disease

Jan 8 • 3 minute read

We often don’t think about oral health beyond our teeth, yet nearly half of all adults suffer from some form of gum disease. What most fail to realize is that if gum disease is left untreated, it can negatively impact your oral health resulting in infections, gum recession, and even tooth loss.

Your gums are an essential part of your oral and overall health, and they deserve your attention just as much as any other part of your body. Be on the lookout for these five signs – if they apply to you, it’s time to seek help.

1. Bleeding When Brushing and Flossing

Bleeding gums are one of the earliest and most common symptoms of gum disease. While you would likely run to the doctor if you started bleeding anywhere else, many people shrug off a bloody toothbrush. However, this warning sign means that your gums are on their way to periodontitis – an advanced stage of gum disease. The good news is it’s not too late, and the correct treatment can help you restore your oral health. If you see blood when you brush, don’t let it slide. Bring it up at your next dental appointment.

2. Redness and Swelling

Another early warning sign of gum disease, this could be in an isolated area, or across the entire gum line. Red, swollen gums will likely be sensitive to touch and extreme temperatures, causing an ache when exposed to hot or cold foods. This inflammation comes from irritation caused by bacteria and tartar build-up. Fortunately, a deep cleaning can put your health back on the right track.

3. A Receding Gum Line

By the time this symptom appears, your gum disease has progressed to a serious level. As the gums pull back, they make the tooth appear longer and leave the tooth root exposed. This leaves it open for bacteria to eat away at the root, causing tooth decay and possibly leading to extraction. Treatment for this stage includes scaling and root planing and an application of antibiotics. If the gums have significantly receded, a gum graft may be necessary to rebuild a healthy gum line.

4. Loose Teeth

Bacterial infections can form pockets beneath the gum line, which causes the gum tissue to separate from the tooth root. If decay sets in, you may experience sensitivity, pain and slight movement. This can be an extremely precarious position for your dental health and may result in an extraction. The treatment for this is a pocket reduction, a procedure that brings the gum tissue back into contact against the tooth root. Antibiotics will also be applied to eliminate the bacterial infection.

5. An Abscess in Your Gums

This condition indicates a severe infection of the gums and should be treated as soon as possible. An abscess can be quite painful to live with, causing swelling, fever, and other symptoms. The real danger, however, is that the infection could spread to other parts of your body.

Unlike most infections, an abscess does not heal on its own and is not something you can wait out. Treatment will involve draining the abscess, eliminating the infection, and using surgical procedures to undo any damage to the gums and jawbone. An experienced dental professional can suggest an aggressive treatment plan to stop any deterioration and provide restorative treatment options.  

Your gum health plays a significant role in your health overall and shouldn’t be taken for granted. If you are concerned about your gum health, reach out and make an appointment today to restore and maintain healthy gums and a beautiful smile.

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Mark Schlaefer, DDS Michael Schlaefer, DDS
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