Healthy gums are more than just a sign that you take good care of your teeth; they’re also a sign of good overall health. If you stand in front of a mirror and flash those pearly whites, you should clearly see plump, coral pink flesh extending over the roots of your teeth. If your gums don’t look healthy, you’re not alone – you may be one of the almost 65 million Americans who suffer from various stages of gum disease. Depending on your residential region and age bracket, you may lean toward mild, moderate, or advanced periodontitis, a severe gum disease that can lead to other serious medical conditions. Why are so many lives affected by such an easily controlled problem?
What Is Gum Disease and Why Is It So Common?
Gum disease is an affliction that affects the health and security of many Americans at some point in their lives. The disease is gradual but advances quickly within two stages of maturity: gingivitis and periodontitis, the latter also known as periodontal (or full-fledged gum) disease. One of the great dangers of periodontitis is that most people don’t even know they have it.
When bacteria build up in the mouth, sticky plaque attaches to all surface areas of the mouth, but especially to the gums and teeth. The substance can easily be removed via personal oral health care and proper professional cleanings. But when either are avoided or ignored for too long, the built-up plaque turns into calculus, or tartar. When the tartar is ignored, toxins caused by bacterial by-products infect the gums, and this is the beginning of gum disease known as gingivitis. At this early stage, gum disease can easily be reversed by a professional dental cleaning and proper personal oral health care.
Of course, many people who get gingivitis already have poor dental habits which allow the infection to spread. Full-blown periodontal disease can develop within weeks. By then, the problem exhibits clear signs and symptoms, and corrective success rates are completely dependent upon how quickly you seek dental assistance.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease?
Almost all diseases have specific risk factors that can exacerbate the signs or symptoms, and being aware helps you better avoid them. The common risks of gum disease include poor oral health care, smoking, genetics, stress, diabetes, immune deficiencies, defective dental treatments, dry mouth caused disease or medication, and hormonal changes. Some of these factors are more easily managed than others, but addressing all of them is an important first step in the prevention of severe gum disease.
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease, and one of the most common signs is swollen and/or discolored gums. At the early stages of gingivitis, gums may be splotchy, bright red, purple, or even shiny. Gums are often tender and bleed when gingivitis is present, but teeth are still intact. Periodontal disease may progress relatively slowly – from weeks to months – and, in advanced stages, is the most common reason for adult tooth loss in advanced stages.
Ignoring mouth pain is a grave mistake. While gingivitis is easily reversed, advanced stages of gum disease aren’t. Periodontitis symptoms build on those of gingivitis and extend to sore, sensitive, and loose teeth, painful chewing, receding gums, foul breath, and puss or sores within the mouth. Isn’t your health and happiness worth a trip to the dentist?
Prevent gum disease by making an appointment with Sachar Dental today. With a good oral health care plan in place, you can address this common problem before it goes too far.