Early Signs of Gum Disease
September is National Gum Care Month, and our team at Prescott Dentistry wants to make sure you are taking care of your gum health! Detecting the early signs of gum disease is the best way to prevent it from progressing into the advanced stages of gum disease.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is an umbrella term that includes gingivitis (mild gum disease) and periodontitis (advanced gum disease). Both of these are caused by bacterial infection in your gums from plaque buildup. Gingivitis causes gum pain and bleeding and, if left untreated, can advance to periodontitis, which leads to irreversible damage and tooth loss. Nearly 50% of Americans have some form of gum disease, primarily due to poor oral hygiene.
Why does it matter?
Periodontitis is the most common cause of tooth loss among American adults. The average person aged 20-39 is missing one tooth, the average 40-49-year old is missing 3.5 teeth, and those aged over 60 are missing 8 teeth—and this is most often due to gum disease.
Gum disease is also a systemic disease that can have widespread inflammatory effects on your overall health. Preventing and treating periodontal disease helps protect you against other systemic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders.
Prevention of Gum Disease
Regular dental checkups and cleanings are vital for preventing and detecting early signs of gum disease. Our dental hygienists can remove all traces of plaque, tartar, and bacteria from your teeth—even below the gums, where brushing can’t reach.
Daily oral hygiene is also paramount in preventing gum disease. Brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice daily. Floss daily, preferably at the same time each day to make it easier to remember. Swish with water after meals and consider chewing xylitol gum to prevent plaque buildup.
Early Signs of Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gingivitis and periodontitis is to maintain quality daily oral hygiene habits and regular dental cleanings. However, if you do develop gum disease, catching it early is essential to ensure it doesn’t cause irreversible damage. Early signs of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Tender or sensitive gums
- Bleeding gums with brushing or flossing
- Receding gums (gums pulling away from teeth)
- Sensitive teeth
- Painful chewing
- Bad breath or a sour taste in the mouth
If you notice any gum bleeding that doesn’t subside after a day or two, or any of these other signs, it’s time to go to the dentist. Prompt dental treatment can prevent gingivitis from advancing to periodontitis and tooth loss—and worse—down the road.
How does Prescott Dentistry treat gum disease?
When you visit us for a cleaning, we will offer personalized, holistic recommendations to help you improve your oral care habits at home. Our dentists can teach you the best way to care for your teeth and gums, naturally. We can also recommend the best holistic products to restore your gums to their healthiest state. In addition to that, we also offer state-of-the-art holistic treatments for gum disease, including laser therapy and ozone therapy.
If you have painful, bleeding, or swollen gums, call Prescott Dentistry to schedule an examination and cleaning right away. The sooner you seek care, the sooner we can provide treatment. Ongoing preventive care is essential for patients with gingivitis, because there is no cure for advanced gum disease. We will create an individualized, holistic treatment plan for you to help prevent your gum disease from growing worse.