Do you experience tenderness when you brush and floss or notice your gums becoming red or angry-looking in appearance? Did you answer yes to either of these conditions?

Periodontal DiseaseYou might be in the earliest phases of gum disease, also called periodontal disease.

This disease is a most often a result of plaque accumulating around the teeth causing inflammation called gingivitis. If ignored or left untreated gingivitis can progress into a full-blown case of periodontal disease. Over months, the condition will worsen, causing gaps between the gums and teeth that will lead to more pervasive gum infection and eventual tooth loss.

While the build-up of plaque is the top cause of periodontal gum disease, it can also be triggered by smoking or smokeless tobacco use, medical conditions, or nutritional deficiencies.

5 Early Signs of Gum Disease

If you are concerned about gum health, remember that early detection begins at home. Call your dentist for a check up if you are experiencing any of the following concerns.

  • Bleeding Gums: Your gums may bleed a little bit when your brush or floss your teeth. During the first stages of gingivitis, you’ll notice spots of blood as you perform your regular oral hygiene or see blood as you rinse your mouth. This is often the very first sign of periodontal disease.
  • Redness of the Gums: Natural, healthy gums are dark pink. If your gums have turned to an extreme red, that’s a sign of inflammation. This could also be irritation caused by a bit of food lodged into the gum and irritating it or causing gum infection.
  • Persistent Bad Breath: If you suffer from sour breath despite diligent oral hygiene, it’s likely caused by bacteria forming due to food that hasn’t been flossed away. This can work its way into the gum pockets and cause an infection that carries a terrible odor. Once you have a gum infection, no amount of minty mouthwash or gum can mask the smell.
  • Pain or Sensitivity: Gum disease can cause tenderness or even hurt when you’re brushing, flossing, or when crunching on crispy foods like apples. This happens because periodontal infection makes the gum begin to detach from the tooth, weakening it and perhaps even exposing the root. This may also manifest itself as sensitivity to hot or cold foods.
  • Gaps Forming: As periodontal disease progresses quickly, you can see gaps forming between your teeth within a relatively short time. These will eventually create pockets which will house colonies of bacteria and cause even faster deterioration. Your teeth may loosen as the gum disease advances.

Partner with Your Dentist

If you have any of the symptoms of periodontal disease, you must contact your dentist for an appointment as quickly as possible. The sooner that they can control this gum disease, the more likely they can help save your teeth.

Here are a few measures the dentist might take at your visit.

  • Give you an exam and document areas of concern.
  • Utilize a tool called a probe to measure the depth of your gum pockets.
  • X-ray your mouth to identify if there’s bone loss.
  • Prescribe antibiotics to stem the infection right away, if appropriate.
  • Discuss and plan treatment such as laser periodontal treatment (or refer you to a periodontist if your dentist isn’t equipped for such treatment).
  • Coach you on how to prevent future recurrences of gum disease.

Fortunately, technology today allows periodontists to treat periodontal disease in ways that were not even imagined a couple of decades ago. Make the appointment and consider your dentist your partner in the battle to save your teeth.

The Ravages of Periodontal Disease

Sadly, the ravages of periodontal disease don’t end with tooth loss. You can also fall victim to other health complications.

In adults, gum disease can cause:

  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Heart attack
  • Infection of the jaw bone

During pregnancy, gum infection can cause:

  • Pre-mature delivery
  • Babies delivered with low birth weight

The dangers of periodontal disease go beyond what you see in terms of red gums. The condition can become dangerous, and even life-threatening, in a relatively quick amount of time.

The Takeaway

Gum disease is a dangerous condition. It can take its toll on your entire body. Knowing the 5 early symptoms can help you identify it at home early. Partnering with your dentist to fight periodontal infection and long-term complications is a critical step in battling the disease and winning.

If you suspect that you’re suffering from periodontal disease, make an appointment with Houston Dental Implants today. We offer laser treatment that can save your teeth.

Dr. Gregory explains why she likes laser treatment over using “the knife.”