Do you ever have that feeling like something is just off, but you can’t quite put your finger on it? This sensation is all too familiar for many, and the answer lies in their oral health. Namely, they may have developed gum disease. This nasty condition results in bleeding, redness, and soreness in the gums and can eventually lead to tooth loss if left untreated. But what exactly is gum disease? Keep reading to discover everything you need about this ubiquitous oral health issue.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth. It is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. If not removed through brushing and flossing, plaque will harden into tartar, a hard substance that can only be removed through professional cleaning.
If tartar is not removed, it will continue to spread beneath the gum line and begin to break down the bone that supports your teeth. This eventually leads to pockets forming between the teeth and gums, which are perfect places for bacteria to hide and further continue their work of destroying your smile. As the disease progresses, you may experience symptoms such as bleeding gums, receding gums, bad breath, loose teeth, or a change in the fit of your partial dentures.
As we just mentioned, there are several telltale signs that you may have developed gum disease. These include:
- Swollen or tender gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Receding gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- A change in how your partial dentures fit
If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to see your dentist as soon as possible so they can diagnose the problem and begin treating it accordingly.
Poor oral hygiene habits cause the vast majority of cases of gum disease. As we mentioned earlier, plaque is constantly forming on your teeth. If not removed through regular brushing and flossing, this plaque will begin to harden into tartar, leading to gum disease. Other factors that may contribute to developing gum disease include genetics, smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products, certain medications (such as steroids or cancer treatments), diabetes, and pregnancy.
While gum disease may seem like a small problem at first, it can quickly become much more serious if left untreated. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the symptoms so you can catch them early and begin treatment as soon as possible. And remember: good oral hygiene habits are essential for preventing gum disease in the first place! So be sure to brush and floss twice a day and see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
If you’re having issues with your gums, come in for a check-up and we’ll evaluate your situation. Contact us today.