Gum disease is a common dental problem across the world. Even people who think they have reasonably healthy teeth can still have early signs of gum problems. Catching gum disease early can help you avoid expensive restorative treatments and allow your gums to fully recover before they suffer any permanent damage.
Here are some of the early signs of gum disease and what you can do to make sure it doesn't get worse.
Many people ignore the early signs of gum disease because they brush off some symptoms as normal or simply try to ignore any discomfort. However if you have any of the following problems, you should consult your dentist during your next visit:
- Gums that bleed. Bleeding gums indicate that you have more inflammation in the area than you should. Gums should not bleed with normal brushing and flossing.
- Gums that are tender. After flossing, your gums may feel a bit tender. Occasional tenderness after flossing (if you floss too aggressively or nick your gums by mistake) is normal, but daily tenderness is not.
- Gums that are starting to recede. Do your teeth look longer than normal, or are your teeth becoming more sensitive near the gum line? This is a sign that your gums are pulling away because of inflammation.
- Sensitive teeth. Your teeth will also become more sensitive as your gums start to decline in health. You might experience discomfort when eating hot or cold items or when brushing your teeth.
As gum disease progresses, the above symptoms become even more severe. Your teeth might start to loosen, and you'll have bad breath that you have a hard time getting rid of.
Stopping Gum Disease
You can take steps to keep the gum disease from progressing. This is an important priority because gum disease can become so bad that you lose teeth and even experience jaw and bone trouble because of the infection. Your should begin by:
- Gently brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes. One of the reasons why gum disease is so common is that people skip basic brushing, they brush too hard, or they do not brush long enough.
- Flossing daily. People with gum disease often skip flossing because it hurts or because they don't like the feeling of the gums swelling up after flossing. However, continuing to floss will eventually stop the pain, and the swelling will no longer occur. You just have to stick with it.
- Booking a professional tooth cleaning. Your teeth do need professional cleaning. If you have early gum disease, the dentist may want to do an even deeper dental cleaning than usual to help remove plaque contributing to the condition.
- Reducing consumption of sugary sodas and other harmful foods. These feed the bacteria in your mouth that cause gum disease in the first place. Flush out your mouth with water after eating, snacking, or drinking beverages, including milk and juice.
These steps can help stop gum disease in its tracks if you catch it early.
Preventing Future Problems
Now that you've learned about the early signs and what you can do to make things better, you also want to make sure that you prevent the problem from coming back. The habits you use to stop gum disease also help prevent it. But, you should continue to get regular dental exams and cleanings, and you should also make sure to stop smoking and limit drinking. Tobacco use makes gum disease more likely. An occasional glass of alcohol is fine, but daily drinking can also increase your risk of future of gum problems.
For more information, contact a dentist in your area.