If it’s been more than a year since you had a routine dental check-up, you may start to worry about your oral health, especially if you don’t maintain your oral health as diligently as you should. If oral hygiene isn’t always a priority, you could put yourself at risk of developing gum disease. Unfortunately, gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is very common and is one of the main reasons people visit the dentist. However, gum disease is usually painless and, therefore, may go undetected. Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum tissue resulting from the build-up of plaque on the teeth and gum line, which can progress to affect the bone surrounding your teeth.
If left untreated, gum disease can progress to a point where teeth may become infected, loose, and ultimately removed. It’s important to keep up with your twice-daily brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups to make sure your gums are clean and healthy.
Unfortunately, maintaining perfect oral hygiene is not as easy as it sounds, and pesky bacteria can build up on and around your gums and teeth. Luckily, there are a few signs that may indicate gum disease, and it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for them before it’s too late. If you suspect that you may have gum disease, look out for these 7 signs that it might be time to see the dentist.
- When you perform your daily brushing and flossing, your gums should not bleed. Generally, if you skip your flossing, bacteria can build up in the areas below your gums, and this can cause bleeding when you brush. In some cases, bleeding can occur without any stimulation, which is usually a sign that gum disease has advanced to more serious stages. Bleeding can be accompanied by swollen, red, or sore gums.
- It can be tempting to stop flossing your teeth if they continue to bleed; however, this can be counterproductive. Failing to floss allows the plaque that causes gum disease to break down fibres that attach teeth to the gum tissue.
- Bleeding gums not only causes pain and discomfort, but can also cause a whole host of other complications in your body, including the following:
- Harmful bacteria from your mouth entering your bloodstream.
- Bacteria binding to platelets, causing blood clotting, which could lead to a stroke or heart attack.
- An immune response mounted against the infected gum tissue can cause your gum tissue to be eaten away.
High blood sugar
- There is a bi-directional relationship between type 2 diabetes and gum disease. This means that people with type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk of developing gum disease, which tends to progress relatively quickly as well. If you are diagnosed with gum disease, you should also test your blood sugar, as the two conditions are connected. For this reason, it’s important for your dentist to know your medical history and whether or not you have type 2 diabetes.
Receding gums or formation of gum pockets
- As your gums begin to recede, more of your tooth’s surface becomes exposed and visible, giving the appearance of longer teeth. If you find that your gums are receding, it can be a sign that you have gum disease.
- Additionally, there is also the formation of pockets in the gums, which become deeper at later stages of gum disease. These pockets become the perfect places where food and debris can get trapped and difficult to remove by brushing or flossing. This creates a vicious cycle where the build-up of food and debris in these pockets causes the pockets to become deeper and the gum disease to worsen.
- As your gums begin to recede and expose more of your tooth’s surface, or you begin to see the formation of gum pockets, your teeth may also become more sensitive, which can be a sign of gum disease. Due to infection, your gum tissue becomes inflamed and exposes the root surface of your teeth. An exposed tooth root is more susceptible to wear and tear, decay, and tooth sensitivity, and could lead to potential tooth loss.
Chronic bad breath
- If you have begun to feel self-conscious about the persistent bad breath you may be experiencing, along with a bad taste in your mouth, it may be a sign that it’s time to see a dental professional. Chronic bad breath can be a sign of gum disease. The build-up of plaque-causing bacteria can result in an unpleasant odour in your mouth.
Pus in between the teeth
- If gum disease has progressed to a more severe stage, you may begin to see small pockets of pus forming in the tissues of the gums, known as a periodontal abscess. The abscess occurs at more advanced stages of gum disease. It causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where pus begins to form.
Changes in your bite
- If you begin to experience some changes in the way that your teeth fit together when you bite down, it could be a sign that you have gum disease.
Gum disease is certainly no picnic. It can cause a number of undesirable signs and symptoms, and, worst of all, it can be an indicator of other poor health conditions. It’s important to control gum disease by brushing and flossing your teeth following meals and before bed, and visit a dental professional for a thorough examination and cleaning of your teeth. The best way to tackle gum disease is to use techniques to ensure that plaque and bacteria do not settle down on your teeth and gums.
As important as it is to manage bacterial build-up in your mouth, gum disease is also an indicator of your body’s general health. If you experience any of the signs mentioned above of gum disease, then see a general physician to examine whether you are suffering from any other issues related to your heart or immune system. It’s important to remain vigilant and watch for any signs of gum disease so it can be treated in its early stages.
At Bristol Dental Clinic, our team of highly trained dental professionals know that gum disease is no friend, and we’re well equipped to help you make the disease disappear. We are dedicated to helping you maintain excellent oral health for life. If you spot any signs of gum disease or simply would like a general examination and cleaning, call Bristol Dental Clinic today at 905-712-3409 to book your appointment. We also invite you to visit our website here to learn more about what we have to offer.