Gum disease is a serious dental health problem that affects many people. It ranges in severity but, if left untreated, can lead to severe dental damage and tooth loss. Gum disease is caused by allowing plaque to remain on the teeth. When allowed on the teeth too long, it can quickly progress to tartar, which can only be removed via a professional cleaning. Once you have developed tartar, you're even more prone to it in the future, and if you don't keep up with your regular cleanings, you could find yourself with gum disease before you know it. Furthermore, gum disease risk can also be increased due to genetic or health factors. The good news is that with regular dental care and vigilantly watching for the symptoms of gum disease, you can reduce your risk and catch the problem before it has a chance to progress.
One of the first signs of gum disease is often gums that bleed either during or after brushing. If you spit red in the sink, it's time to see your dentist.
Sometimes, bleeding gums can simply be the result of brushing too hard or with the wrong toothbrush. If you think that may be the case, apply gentler brushing techniques. If that still doesn't fix the problem, however, visit your dentist for assistance.
A Bite That Doesn't Feel Right
You've likely had the same bite all of your adult life. Thus, it should be pretty easy to notice when something is amiss with it. If you suddenly feel like your teeth don't "sit right," for example, or if you find they are coming together differently and causing aching in your jaw, something is likely wrong with your bite.
A person with gum disease will often suffer from inflamed gums, and the inflammation can cause the teeth to shift and protrude, leading to uncomfortable changes in bite. Getting used to your new bite is not the answer. Talking to your dentist is, especially since this is a sign of more advanced and thus more serious gum disease.
Persistent Bad Breath
Sometimes, bad breath is simply the result of poor dental hygiene, which is, in and of itself, a risk factor for gum disease. If the bad breath doesn't go away even as brushing habits improve, however, gum disease may be to blame.
Don't just pop a mint or feel embarrassed. Do something about the problem by visiting your dentist. In all of these instances, your dentist can determine how progressed your gum disease is and can provide you with treatment options. Of course, it's always best to avoid getting gum disease in the first place. Thus, practice good dental hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, at home and ask your dentist to screen you for gum disease regularly, especially if you have a family or personal history of it. For more information, contact a dentist such as Stephen P. Cary, DMD.