Healthy gums are the foundation of good oral health and overall wellness. Healthy gums shouldn’t bleed. While it’s true that occasional gum bleeding occurs, if you’re noticing blood often when you brush, it could be a sign of gingivitis—the first stage of gum disease. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help treat and reverse gingivitis if you tackle it early. To do so, you must recognize the signs.
Signs of Gingivitis
Gum disease does not come on suddenly. If you know the signs you can get ahead of the game and see your dentist right away. Just because you’re gums bleed now and then doesn’t necessarily mean you have gum disease. But if it’s happening regularly, you should be worried. Your dentist can tell just by looking at your gums whether or not there is an infection.
The Signs of Gingivitis
- Bad breath
- Swollen red gums
- Regular bleeding when you brush
Signs You May Have Periodontitis
You started with gingivitis and ignored it. If your symptoms are worsening, you have likely moved on to the next stage of gum disease. Periodontitis is a condition which left untreated results in significant bone loss and loss of one or more teeth.
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Bright red, dusky red or purplish gums
- Gums that feel tender when touched
- Gums that bleed easily
- Pink-tinged toothbrush after brushing
- Spitting out blood when brushing or flossing your teeth
- Bad breath
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Loose teeth or loss of teeth
- Painful chewing
- New spaces developing between your teeth
- Gums pulled away from teeth, making them appear longer
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Along with signs of gum disease, there are also dental hygiene habits (or lack of them) that are good predictors of whether or not you will contract gum disease.
- Regular dental visits
- A professional cleaning every 6 months
- Brushing twice a day
- Flossing or using a water pick
- Healthy diet
- Limiting acidy foods
Prevention is The Key
Brush your teeth. Brushing after meals helps remove food debris and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. Don’t forget to include your tongue; bacteria love to hide there.
Floss. Flossing at least once a day helps remove food particles and plaque between teeth and along the gum line that your toothbrush can’t quite reach.
Swish with mouthwash. Using a mouthwash can help reduce plaque and can remove remaining food particles that brushing, and flossing missed.
Know your risk. Age, smoking, diet, and genetics can all increase your risk for periodontal disease. If you are at increased risk, be sure to talk with your dental professional.
See a periodontist. Get an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation, particularly if you have gum issues in your family history.
Don’t let gum disease ruin your health. If you live in the Paoli, PA area call us now for a consultation at (610) 550-3333. Think Oral Implants and Periodontics, office located at 250 W. Lancaster Ave., Suite 215, Paoli, PA 19301.