How do you know if you have gum disease? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of adults over age 30 in the United States have gum disease, but many of them don't realize it. By familiarizing yourself with gum disease symptoms, you can get proper care immediately if you develop a problem. Once you know the best dental care advice, you can prevent gum disease from happening or keep it from progressing.
Warning Signs of Gum Disease
There are several symptoms that can alert you to the presence of gum disease. If you have any of the symptoms listed below, be sure to schedule a visit to your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will be able to tell you whether you have gum disease, to what degree it has progressed and what kinds of treatments are necessary.
According to the CDC, these are some common gum disease symptoms:
- Bad breath that won't go away.
- Bleeding when you brush or floss.
- Swollen gums.
- Loose teeth.
- Pockets between your gums and teeth.
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together.
Types of Gum Disease
Improper oral care can lead to gum disease. There are two different stages: Gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. It is an inflammation of the gums, and it is caused by plaque and tartar buildup on teeth.
Untreated gingivitis could turn into periodontitis. This disease infects the gum tissue more seriously, causes gum pockets and infection of the bone tissue. In more advanced stages of periodontitis, your teeth can become loose and even fall out.
What You Can Do
Stay one step ahead of gum disease by maintaining good oral hygiene at home. Make sure to brush and floss every day to remove harmful bacteria. See your dentist at least twice a year for routine cleanings and to check for cavities and gum disease. If you do have some form of gum disease, your dentist will recommend in-office treatment. These treatments can include a deep cleaning below the gum line as well as a prescription anti-microbial mouth rinse such as Colgate® PerioGuard®. If the gum disease has progressed to periodontal disease, then a consultation appointment with a gum specialist also known as a periodontist, may be recommended by your dentist. By working with your dentist and taking care of your teeth at home, you'll improve your chances of fighting gum disease.