As dental professionals, we want your mouth to be as healthy as possible. We want your smile to look great, too.
That’s much more likely if you keep your teeth, and you are more likely to keep your teeth if your gums are healthy. Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
Think about that for a moment. Infected gums — not tooth decay, not injuries — are the reason you are most likely to lose part of your smile.
At Advanced Dental Center, we want to help you keep your smile, which is why we would rather help you prevent gum disease. This is more likely if you schedule regular dental cleanings and exams at our dentist office in Florence, SC.
In the meantime, take a moment to review the symptoms of gum disease and the factors that could increase your risk of a periodontal infection.
Signs Of Gum Disease
If your gums are healthy, they should look pink and feel firm to the touch. In the early stages of an infection, your gums may appear swollen and redder than usual. Bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth is another sign that you have gum disease.
The symptoms described above are often an indication that you have gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease. Taking action at this stage could prevent you from developing periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease.
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, people with periodontitis may notice one or more of the following:
■ Bleeding (even when you aren’t brushing or flossing)
■ Constant bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
■ Pockets forming between teeth and gums
■ Receding gums (gums that are separating from your teeth)
■ Teeth that feel loose in their sockets
■ Sore or painful gums
One of the reasons gum disease often goes untreated is that is may not be painful until its late stages. Too often patients wait for pain before they seek help.
If you notice any of the symptoms of gum disease, don’t wait to get treatment. Advanced Dental Center can help before your teeth are at risk.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
Health experts consider gum disease an epidemic. At any time, more than half of the population may have some form of periodontal infection.
This makes it all the more important for you to know if you may be at higher risk than other people. With that in mind, here are some factors that will make you more likely to develop gum disease.
▶ Having diabetes
Experts are not certain why this is the case, but people with diabetes are at a higher risk of gum infections, too. One idea is that people with diabetes are more prone to dry mouth, which can make it easier for harmful bacteria to thrive. It’s also worth noting that having gum disease can make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels.
▶ Using tobacco
This may be the single worst thing you can do for your oral health. The chemicals in tobacco are harmful to your overall health, and they can cause a lot of problems for your gums. In addition to raising your risk of gum disease, tobacco use can make it more difficult to treat.
▶ Poor oral hygiene
This may go without saying, but brushing twice a day and flossing daily remove bacteria and plaque buildup that lead to gum disease and tooth decay. If you aren’t doing those things, then you are invited an infection to take hold.
▶ Family history
This one isn’t fair, we know. It’s also true that some people are just more likely to develop gum disease than others. If gum problems are common in your family, then you should pay particular attention to your gum health.
▶ Hormone changes
When your body is going through changes, it can affect your oral health. In general, men are more likely to develop gum disease than women. However, women’s risk increases during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
Protect Your Smile By Protecting Your Gums
Preventive care is the best way to avoid the problems that come with gum disease. If you have signs of gum disease, early treatment is more effective and less invasive.