Gum disease is more common than many people think. The condition is usually slow moving, so you might have it and not even know. Since gum disease, or periodontitis, can lead to more severe issues, including tooth loss, the sooner it is treated, the better. Don’t shrug off any changes in your mouth. Instead, make an appointment to see a dentist or periodontist if you notice any of the warning signs below.
When you floss, you notice little flecks of blood on the string. When you brush your teeth, the bristles of the brush turn slightly pink. An excessive amount of plaque along your gum line can inflame the gums and lead to bleeding, a sign of gingivitis, or the early stages of gum disease.
Since the bleeding might not be profuse, you might be tempted to ignore it or figure it will resolve on its own. While there might be an instance when bleeding gums are due to something that isn’t gum disease, they are still a sign you should take seriously. Your gums might bleed because you brush your teeth too vigorously or floss too roughly. In that case, your dentist or periodontist can show you how to be more gentle while still cleaning your teeth.
Sometimes, bad breath is caused by something you ate, such as a garlicky dinner or a curry. In other cases, you might have bad breath because you have a cold and your nasal passages are blocked. Brushing and flossing can help tame the bad breath, as can waiting for your body to fully digest the pungent foods you ate.
But, if the bad breath is persistent or strong enough to bother you and others, it could be connected to gum disease. When food bits and plaque build up on your teeth and gums, the bacteria that feed on them can produce and release an unpleasant odor.
Having the occasional case of morning breath or pungent breath after a meal shouldn’t be a cause for concern. But, if you have bad breath often or regularly have a bad taste in your mouth, it’s a good idea to see a dentist for help.
A Change in Fit
Ideally, your upper teeth and lower teeth will fit together well when you bite down. A good fit is needed for ease of chewing and to reduce wear and tear on the teeth. As you age, you might have some changes in your bite, or occlusion.
But, changes in your bite can also be a sign of gum disease, as the gums loosen around the teeth, allowing them to shift in position. Some signs that your teeth aren’t fitting together as well as they should or as well as they once were include jaw pain, regular headaches and increased sensitivity in the teeth, especially as the enamel wears down.
A Loose Tooth
A loose tooth or teeth can be connected to a change in the way you bite. As an adult, it’s not normal for your teeth to become loose or feel as they are about to fall out. Your teeth should feel firmly anchored into your gums and mouth.
Loose teeth can actually be a sign that your gum disease is pretty far advanced. If the disease isn’t treated early on, the gums can be destroyed by the bacteria, as can the bones that provide support to your teeth. Without the support, your tooth becomes loose and can eventually fall out.
Depending on how severe the gum disease and how severe the damage to the tooth is, surgical treatment might be needed to give the tooth adequate support. If the damage is very severe, the best option might be for the periodontists to remove the tooth or teeth and replace it or them with an implant.
No Signs at All
Gum disease is treatable and curable in the earliest stages. The catch 22 here is that it often doesn’t have any signs or symptoms in those early stages. Pain from gum disease is rare, so many people continue about their daily lives without thinking about it.
Although you might not have any signs, gum disease is a common enough disease that taking preventative measures is a great idea. See a dentist on a regular basis for teeth cleaning and an examination. If you have a family history of periodontal disease, it might be a good idea to start seeing a periodontist, too.
In the Miami area, periodontists Dr. John Paul Gallardo can evaluate your teeth and gums, let you know if you have gum disease, and let you know your treatment options. The condition is more common than you think, so taking preventative action is often a good idea. Call (305) 447-1447 to schedule an appointment with the periodontists today.