Sometimes, the little signs your body sends you are the ones you need to pay attention to the most. These are usually early warning signs that something is going on. Gum disease is one of those things that can go wrong with your body but has subtle warning signs that are easy to ignore. Don’t be fooled, though – gum disease is a tooth killer, and you need to know what to look for to keep your smile safe.
Understand the Danger of Gum Disease
Let’s put it this way. If gum disease were a fatal, contagious disease, we all would be in a modern-day apocalyptic TV episode. More than 49 percent of the people in the United States live with some form of gum disease. If you are 65 or older, the number of infected jumps to more than 70 percent. Thankfully, gum disease is not a fatal condition. The problems gum disease can contribute to, however, can be fatal. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. These problems are associated with gum disease that has been allowed to progress to the latter stages. Those advanced stages also show themselves in other ways, namely tooth loss and receding gums.
Gum disease will destroy your smile if you let it. The biggest problem with trying to stop gum disease is that most people don’t even know that they have it. The symptoms are not always obvious until the later stages, and the early stage symptoms are mild enough to be passed off as nothing.
Know the Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease. Gum disease is the progression of gingivitis, but gingivitis does not always become full-blown gum disease (periodontitis). So, all gum disease starts with gingivitis, but not all gingivitis becomes advanced gum disease.
The symptoms of gingivitis are:
- Bleeding gums – If you have gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss your teeth, you should make an appointment to see Dr. Boyle. Arresting the the infection in the stage of gingivitis is much easier than after it has progressed.
- Red or inflamed gums – Your gums will appear puffy and red. This is a clear sign that they are irritated by something. Call our office to set up your appointment quickly.
Later stages have worsening symptoms. They include:
- Loose teeth – The gums and bone that are holding your teeth in place are now damaged to the point that the stability of your teeth has been compromised.
- Receding gums – The infection has begun to destroy your gum tissue, causing it to move farther away from your tooth.
- Lost teeth – In the final stages, your teeth may dislodge from their spots in your jaw and come out or will need to be extracted.
Choose the Best Treatment Option
Despite these scary symptoms, there is hope at our office! Dr. Boyle uses the scaling and root planing method to treat your gum disease. Scaling will remove hardened plaque, which is producing the infection-causing bacteria, from around and underneath your gumline. This will give your body a chance to begin to fight off the infection in your gums. Root planing involves smoothing rough spots on your exposed tooth roots to prepare them for new gum material growth in that area. Together, these deep cleaning treatments will help restabilize your teeth and gums and protect them from further damage.