Are you experiencing swelling, pain or bleeding in your gums? Short term problems such as these are an all too common problem for many people. However, persistent swelling, pain or bleeding in your gums may indicate gum disease. Gum disease can be difficult to spot due to its stealthy progression. This has led to many labelling it “a silent disease”.
Let’s examine the signs and symptoms of gum disease and its prevalence.
How Common Is Gum Disease?
You may have heard your family or friends complain about problems with their gums at some point, and wondered how common gum disease actually is. Believe it or not, a whopping 47% of people aged 30 years and older have some type of gum disease. This figure increases to 70% for adults aged 65 or older. This means there is a good chance you will experience a gum disease at some point in your life, so you should learn how to identify its signs and symptoms.
Why Gum Disease is Considered Silent
Gum or “periodontal” disease is considered silent because its initial symptoms can seem relatively tame compared to the damage it can do during later stages.
Periodontal disease is known as “gingivitis” in its early stages. It is characterized by an infection of the bone and tissues that support your teeth, which shows up as swelling, bleeding, and redness of the gums. You can prevent this disease from progressing by brushing regularly and visiting your dentist every 6 months for a professional dental cleaning.
If left untreated gingivitis can progress into periodontitis in which bacterial plaque or “calculus” deposits extend below your teeth and into your gum line. This results in an infection that destroys your gum membrane and releases toxins that damage the surrounding bone.
Symptoms of Gingivitis and Gum Disease
You should look for the following symptoms if you suspect you have gingivitis.
- Swollen gums
- Dark red gum color
- Bad breath
- Bleeding when you brush or floss
- Receding gums
Periodontal disease includes many of the symptoms mentioned above. However, it is characterized by some key additional symptoms such as:
- Pockets between teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
- Poor tooth alignment
Is Periodontal Disease Treatable?
If left unchecked, periodontal disease can damage your jaw and lead to tooth loss. The good news is that periodontal disease is treatable in its early stages. Some common treatments for early stage periodontal disease include:
- Scaling:Removal of bacteria and tartar from tooth surfaces and under your gums.
- Root planing: Procedure for smoothing root surfaces and stopping further bacteria and plaque buildup.
- Antibiotics: Oral or topical medication to keep the bacterial infection under control.
Advanced periodontal disease may require dental surgery such as:
- Flap pocket surgery:Reducing pockets via surgery
- Tissue grafting: Attaching tissue from another part of your mouth or body to reinforce damaged tissue.
- Bone grafting: Helps regenerate tooth supporting bone.
Periodontal disease should never be taken lightly. If you suspect you are suffering from gingivitis or periodontal disease, you should visit a dentist immediately for a check up. Periodontal disease is far easier to treat in its early stages than in its later ones, so it is vital to seek help as soon as possible. Try water flossing in the shower to remove food and bacteria on a daily basis with ToothShower, www.toothshower.com
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