Key Signs of Gum Disease

Health conditions with the potential to damage our body do not always arrive with great fanfare or extreme symptoms. It is often the “quiet” conditions that are the most insidious, because they wreak havoc and do not cause great pain or difficulty until they are quite advanced.

Periodontal (gum) disease is definitely a health condition that falls into this category. If you make regular visits to your cosmetic


dentist, he or she can do a thorough examination that looks for the more subtle signs of gum disease. But between visits, it’s important to know the key signs of periodontal issues, so you can take steps to improve your gum health and discuss the situation with your cosmetic dentist if the need arises.

How to stop gum disease in its tracks

Understand the key symptoms. These can include:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
  • Gums that are pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

Understand your risk factors for gum disease. Your risk for gum disease is elevated if you smoke or use tobacco products, if you’re experiencing hormone-related changes due to puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, if you are under extreme stress, if you have diabetes or another systemic illness, if you’re taking a medication that causes dry mouth, or if you have a family history of gum disease.

Understand how gum disease is prevented and treated. Daily flossing and twice-daily brushing go a long way toward keeping your gums healthy. Quitting smoking can improve your gum health, too. Your cosmetic dentist can provide a scaling and root planing treatment to reduce your risk of serious complications, and can prescribe various antibiotic treatments if you have a more advanced case. Laser dental hygiene treatments may also be recommended. The most advanced cases of periodontal diseases can require surgery to improve their prognosis.

“There’s nothing subtle about gum disease in its end stages, so the time to keep your gums healthy is before you have extreme symptoms,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist with a practice in central Phoenix. “Knowledge of the early symptoms and signs of gum disease will help you take action quickly.”

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