You figure that you take good care of your teeth, so you shouldn’t have to worry about problems like gum disease. You may want to reconsider this position — nearly half of adults (47.2%) age 30 and older have some degree of periodontal disease. And this number grows in lockstep with age — about 70% of people 65 years old or more have periodontitis.
Gum disease can rob you of your teeth if left unchecked, so you want to do what you can to stop this progressive disease in its tracks. To help you identify the signs of early periodontitis, the team here at Peninsula Dental Excellence, under the direction of Dr. Colin Au and Dr. Jeff Yoshihara, pulled together four signs you shouldn’t ignore.
1. Inflammation around your gums
Gum disease usually starts as gingivitis, when harmful bacteria first get up under your gums. Your gums typically respond to this initial assault with inflammation. If you run your tongue around your gums, you should feel flat and have taut tissue. If you feel any puffiness or notice an area that’s a little larger than others, this could be inflammation due to gum disease.
2. Bleeding gums
If you notice a pinkish or reddish staining in the toothpaste you spit out after brushing, the odds are this stems from bleeding in your gums. While brushing is often enough to get infected gums to bleed, it’s especially true when you floss, so examine your floss carefully.
3. Sensitive and/or tender gums
Another early sign of gum disease is increased sensitivity or tenderness in your gums. You might experience tenderness when you push down on your gums or notice it when you’re eating tough food.
The sensitivity can crop up if you react more strongly to hot or cold temperatures or spicy foods that come into contact with the tissue.
4. Bad breath
Thanks to the increased number of bacteria in your mouth when you have gum disease, you can develop persistent bad breath. We know this can be hard to determine on your own, but you can try cupping your hands over your mouth and nose and exhaling into the space. Then, use your nose to inhale.
Stopping gum disease
Recognizing the early signs of gum disease and coming to see us right away is a great preventive practice. Gum disease can eventually destroy not only your gums but you can lose teeth as a result when it's left untreated.
The good news is that early gum disease treatment may be as simple as a good cleaning. We get up under your gums during this cleaning to eliminate the bacteria. If the gum disease has caused pockets between your gums and teeth, we can turn to a deeper cleaning or rooting and scaling procedure.
These two treatments are quick and easy and far better than dealing with more extensive gum surgery or replacing missing teeth.
If you suspect that you might have the early stages of gum disease, please contact our office in Mountain View, California, to schedule a visit today.