February 1, 2018
If you’re an adult living in the U.S., it’s likely you are you’re living with an aggressive form of gum disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, periodontitis is a reality for nearly half of Americans!
Part of the reason for this is that aggressive gum disease can sneak up on you. Many people aren’t looking out for the signs of gingivitis — the gum inflammation that precedes periodontitis — so they don’t intervene before it wreaks havoc on their smile.
So, in honor of Gum Disease Awareness Month, we wanted to arm you with information. Here are some signs that you can look for on your own, as well as with the help of a trusted dentist.
Appalachian Dental Care in Boone, NC offers comprehensive dental exams that present an opportunity to identify the earliest signs of infection. And when gum disease does strike, Dr. Airey and his highly skilled team can eradicate infection and repair the damage with gum disease treatments.
Give us a call at 828-355-5673 if you suspect your gum health is less than stellar, or if you’re due for a six-month cleaning and checkup!
Sign #1: Swollen Gums
This is perhaps the earliest sign of gum disease, and it often flies under people’s radars. Gum disease is an infection of the tissue surrounding your teeth. It occurs when bacteria — attracted by food particles lingering along and below the gumline — infect and irritate your gum tissue.
Inflammation is your immune system’s natural response to the presence of harmful bacteria. Your blood carries white blood cells, which fight infection, so your body increases blood flow to the infected gum tissue. As a result, your gums may swell, become red in color, and might even be a bit tender to the touch.
These are all small things that are easy to miss if you’re not looking out for them, which is why it’s so important to commit to routine checkups. Even if you’re not paying close attention to your gums, Dr. Airey and our hygienists are! They can spot the earliest signs of gingivitis so we can stop the infection before it worsens.
Plus, regular visits give us a chance to remove bacterial buildup that may have accumulated on your teeth and gums since your last visit. These cleanings are more thorough than your regular brushing and flossing, so they’re extremely effective at helping to prevent gum disease.
Sign #2: Bad Breath
Think about it: When bacterial buildup coats your teeth because you haven’t brushed in a while, your breath takes on an unpleasant odor. Gum disease is driven by that same bacterial buildup, so it makes sense that it would also contribute to persistent bad breath.
Flossing once a day is a good way to ensure that food particles that would otherwise attract bacteria are adequately removed. You can also rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash. These additions to your daily routine help prevent gum disease and the bad breath that comes with it.
Depending on the severity of your gum disease, we might also recommend a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing to remove bacterial buildup from below the gumline.
Sign #3: Gumline Recession.
Gingivitis is easily cured, but once it worsens into periodontitis, it can do some serious damage to your smile. Gumline recession is a common symptom of advanced gum disease. Your gums protect your teeth — particularly your tooth roots — from decay. When your gum tissue pulls away from your teeth, it leaves them vulnerable to decay and infection.
Early signs that your gums are receding include dental sensitivity and your teeth developing a strange, elongated look.
To restore the health of your gums after recession has occurred, we need to do two things. First, we have to eradicate infection. Then, we need to repair the gumline so it can better protect your teeth.
For more severe cases, we pair our deep cleaning treatments with antibiotics to really knock out infection. After that has been taken care of, we can go ahead and repair any damage done to the gum line.
At Appalachian Dental Care, Dr. Airey can restore a healthy gumline with a simple gum graft procedure. This involves taking a small amount of healthy tissue and securing it over the receded gumline. This encourages regrowth of healthy gum tissue.
Dr. Airey thoroughly numbs the area before the work begins, but we can also minimize stress and discomfort with the aid of dental sedation.
Get Your Gum Health Back On Track
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to show your gums a little tender loving care. Gum disease rarely goes away on its own; in almost every case, it worsens without proper treatment.