Gum disease is often painless and you may not realize you have it. The first visible indicators of gum disease are bleeding when brushing or flossing and red or tender gums. It’s common to develop gum disease, and fortunately most cases are mild and can be eliminated with little more than advanced cleaning. When gum disease becomes more advanced, there is a risk for tooth loss or bone necrosis. Some research suggests there may also be a risk of hypertension, heart disease, respiratory issues and Alzheimer’s disease.
Some factors that increase the risk of developing gum disease are:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Crooked teeth that are difficult to keep clean
- Tobacco usage
- Medications, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, steroids, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
Gingivitis is the milder form of gum disease marked by tender gums that bleed easily. It can be treated with more frequent dental hygiene visits. Medicated mouthwash can help bolster at-home routines and protect gums from further infection.
Periodontitis, more advanced gum disease, can be marked by chronic bad breath, loose teeth, puss in between teeth and a persistent bad taste in the mouth. Periodontitis may require scaling and root planing or laser gum therapy. Both treatments remove plaque and bacteria from below the gum line, eliminating the infection and assisting in the long-term health of teeth and gums.
If you have swollen gums or you bleed when brushing or flossing, call us for a consultation. Gum disease doesn’t get better on its own, so the sooner you get control of the situation, the less invasive your treatment will have to be.