Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a dangerous infection of the mouth that is caused by the growth of bacteria on the gums (gingivitis). It is characterized by the pulling away of the bone and gum from around the teeth. This creates small pockets that can collect food particles and more bacteria, leading to a serious infection. The pockets then grow, causing the tooth to become loose. In the end, the tooth will fall out.
Fortunately, if you spot the signs of gum disease early on, you can begin treatment and kill the infection before you lose the tooth or to have surgery to repair the tissue and bone around the tooth.
Here are seven signs that you may have gum disease. If you spot any of them, you should make an appointment with your dentist. Springfield, Ohio residents shouldn’t wait.
1. Your Gums Bleed When You Brush Them
This is one of the earliest signs of gingivitis and gum disease. If you notice blood on your toothbrush, definitely take the time to see where it came from. It’s not always a sign of gum disease, but it is a sign that something’s wrong.
2. Your Gums are Swollen or Tender
If you find that your gums hurt when you eat or that they feel swollen, make an appointment with your dentist. This is especially true if the swelling lasts for several days. Swelling is not normal and is often an indication of an infection.
3. Bad Breath
Sometimes bad breath is caused by something you eat, by a tooth that’s decaying, or by other illnesses. However, it can also be a sign of gum disease, especially if it’s persistent. Don’t try to cover it up with gum or mints while waiting for it to go away—if it’s caused by an infection, it won’t. Also typically bacteria at the back of the tongue is the reason for much bad breath. Therefore using a tongue scraper regularly will help tremendously in lowering the bad breath.
4. A Bad Taste in Your Mouth
Likewise, having a bad taste in your mouth all the time is another sign of gum disease and is often accompanied by bad breath. Again, food or other issues can cause this, but if it’s persistent, you should have it checked out.
5. Receding Gums
Another sign that you’re dealing with gum disease is when your gums start to pull away from your teeth. If you notice that more of your teeth are showing than before, start looking for other signs of gum disease.
6. Loose Teeth
This is a major sign—if your teeth can wiggle or feel loose, then you may have advanced gum disease. See a dentist right away if this is the case because it may already be too late to save the tooth.
7. Changes in How you Bite
If you’ve noticed that your teeth don’t seem to bite down or fit together in quite the same way, it may be because some of them have shifted due to gum disease. If you wear partial dentures, you may notice that they don’t fit quite right.
Remember, the sooner you catch gum disease, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to save your teeth.