Have you ever spat after brushing or flossing to find a splash of blood in the sink? Do your teeth look longer than they used to? Are your gums red and sensitive? If so, you may need gum disease therapy. Gum disease is a serious condition that has been linked to other health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and even dementia. Continue reading below to learn more about how to spot the early stages of gum disease.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis, is a bacterial infection in your gum tissue, essentially caused by poor oral hygiene. When you go without brushing or flossing for even one day, bacteria in plaque builds up. Plaque is a sticky film that forms constantly on your teeth. Brushing and flossing are usually enough to keep it from hardening into a substance called tartar. When left to accumulate, plaque and tartar attack the structures that keep your teeth anchored to your gums. Your teeth could eventually fall out!
In addition, the heightened number of bacteria in your mouth can enter your bloodstream and travel to other parts of your body, like your heart, brain, and lungs. From there, it can lead to conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and pneumonia, respectively. Getting gum disease treated could save not only your teeth, but your life.
How Can You Spot Gum Disease?
Only your dentist can officially diagnose gum disease, but you should report to them if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Red, tender, or swollen gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Constant bad taste in your mouth
- Teeth that appear longer due to receding gumline
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
How Do You Prevent Gum Disease?
Preventing gum disease is much easier than treating it. Simply do the following:
- Brush twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush.
- Floss at least once a day, preferably right before bed.
- Quit smoking.
- Keep consumption of sugary foods and beverages to a minimum.
- Visit your dentist at least once every six months to make sure your gums are in good shape and get a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar.
While treating gum disease is possible thanks to modern dentistry, it’s much easier to keep yourself from contracting it in the first place. Just follow the steps listed above and your gums should stay in great shape!
About the Author
Dr. Andrew Betaharon earned his dental degree from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. As a lifelong learner, he is devoted to continuing education courses to keep up with the latest treatments that modern dentistry has to offer, including gum disease therapy at La Plata Dental. If you think you may have gum disease, don’t hesitate to reach out through the doctor’s website or by calling (240) 349-2439.