Have you recently noticed that your gums bleed when brushing or flossing? Bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention affects one out of every two Americans age 30 and over. Gum disease is no minor issue – if left untreated, it can worsen over time and eventually lead to tooth loss! Recognizing the symptoms of gum disease can help you identify the problem and know when to call a dentist in Potomac. Learn more about the stages of gum disease, the symptoms, and how to maintain a healthy mouth in today’s blog post.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues in the mouth that hold the teeth in place. The disease is caused by the bacteria in plaque, which can build up on teeth over time and eventually harden. Men and women with gum disease may experience the following symptoms:
- Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Receding gums
- Constant bad breath
- Pus coming from between the teeth and gums
- Changes in the way teeth fit together when one bites
The 3 Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease typically progresses through three main stages. The symptoms of each stage include:
- Stage 1: Gingivitis – This early stage is characterized by red and swollen gums that bleed easily while brushing and flossing, as well as persistent bad breath. Gingivitis is the most common stage of gum disease but fortunately is it reversible.
- Stage 2: Periodontitis – Pockets may form below the gumline that trap tiny bits of food. In addition, gums may feel tender to the touch and teeth may loosen, contributing to bite problems. Irreversible damage to the bones that support your teeth already occurs at this stage.
- Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis – During the final stage of gum disease, individuals typically experience severe gum recession, loose teeth, chronic bad breath, and swollen and bleeding gums. Actual loss in the bone that supports the teeth occur at this stage and tooth extraction may be recommended to halt further infection.
Why You Should Regularly Visit a Dentist
Regular dental checkups and cleanings are key to preventing gum disease. During every biannual dental appointment, a dentist will examine not only your teeth but the health of your gums as well. This includes measuring gumline recession and gauging the depth of your gum pockets. A routine dental exam is also a good opportunity to talk to your dentist about healthy oral hygiene habits and what you can do at home to care for your teeth and gums.
Healthy gums are an important part of overall oral health. Use the above guide on gum disease symptoms to help you recognize when a problem has developed and know when to contact a dentist in Potomac.
About the Author
Dr. Sam Osseiran’s extensive education and experience in helping patients in Potomac achieve happy and healthy smiles has led him to be recognized as one of America’s Top Dentists in cosmetic and implant dentistry by the Consumer Research Council of America. If you are experiencing any symptoms of gum disease, do not hesitate to contact right away Dr. Osseiran via his website or by calling the office at 301-299-0200.