February is Gum Disease Awareness Month, so now is the perfect time to learn about its effects on your health, the signs to look for, and when is the time to visit your dental professional to seek care and treatment.
Impact on your Health
Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is a gum infection that can damage the tissue of the gums around your teeth. This condition is caused by poor dental hygiene and can result in painful, puffy gums. As plaque builds on the teeth, inflammation of the gums can become more severe and will make eating food difficult.
Without treatment, gum disease may result in the loss of teeth and bleeding gums, but although gum disease is primarily an oral disease, if left untreated, it can also impact your overall health. This disease increases your risk of developing many different health complications, such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. The buildup of bacteria in the mouth can also negatively impact your respiratory system and over time, you can also develop osteoporosis in your jawbones.
However, gum disease is largely preventable- it’s just a matter of looking for the signs.
Signs of Early Gum Disease
When gum disease first begins to develop in the mouth, there are persistent symptoms to be aware of and recognize in order to identify the disease.
This can include prolonged bad breath, gums that are swollen and tender to the touch, loose or shifting teeth, and gums that bleed after brushing, which can be identified by a pink tinge left on the toothbrush after you brush.
More severe symptoms may appear later on, such as deep pockets forming in between the teeth, pus in the gums by the teeth, bright red or purple-looking gums, and gums that appear to be receding from your teeth. Chewing will also become more painful, and you may experience irritation or jaw pain when speaking.
These symptoms indicate that the gum disease is progressing and you may need to seek professional dental help.
When in doubt, see Dr. Ema!
Daily brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent gum disease from developing in your mouth, but if you begin to notice the signs of gum disease, it may be time to seek professional treatment to prevent further damage to your gums teeth and to prevent unnecessary oral pain.
Dental professionals like Dr. Ema will conduct a preliminary dental exam to understand what level of treatment you need and then develop an individualized treatment plan that is perfect for you. This may involve an in-depth cleaning to remove the buildup of plaque, or applying dental gels to more protectively cover your gums.
If you recognize the signs of gum disease, don’t wait! Seek treatment today!