Gum disease is an all-too-common problem. In fact, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) estimates that nearly half (approximately 47%) of all Americans over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease. That’s an extraordinary number considering the fact that periodontal disease is usually an entirely preventable condition. Since so many adults are affected by gum disease, we’ve compiled a list of symptoms to consider when determining whether or not you might be one of the 47%.
- Irritated gums: The early stages of gum disease – referred to as “gingivitis” – might be indicated by irritated gums. If your gums bleed when you brush and floss, or if you notice that the gum line around your teeth is sensitive, red, or swollen, tell your dentist.
- Persistent bad breath: We all experience occasional bouts with bad breath, but if your bad breath won’t go away no matter how much mouthwash you use, it could be a sign of gum disease.
- Chewing is painful: If you notice that it’s painful to chew your food, it could be because your gums are sensitive. That sensitivity could be a symptom of gum disease.
- Sensitive teeth: Some people have naturally sensitive teeth, and typically experience that sensitivity with hot or cold foods and beverages, or sometimes sweet foods such as candy. But if you notice that your teeth have become sensitive over a relatively short period of time, it could signal the beginning of gum disease.
- Gums that pull away from your teeth: Another common symptom of gum disease is when gum tissue pulls away from the teeth. Often that gum tissue is swollen and red as well. If you see this happening with your own gums, tell your dentist.
- Loose teeth: Unfortunately, one result of advanced gum disease is tooth loss. If you notice that some of your teeth are loose, you could be experiencing the latter stages of the disease.
- Your partials fit differently: If you wear a partial denture and notice that your partial is fitting differently, contact your dentist. Swollen gums can affect how partials fit, and if your partial feels as though it’s fitting differently in your mouth, it could be due to gum disease.
When it comes to gum disease, the earlier it’s caught, the easier the treatment will be. There are a variety of treatment options available. If you are in the early stages of the condition, a simple deep cleaning followed by a strictly followed at-home cleaning regimen could be all that’s required. If the disease has progressed, some other options might be recommended, and those could include oral surgery and/or prescribed medication. The good news is that gum disease is entirely treatable, but the first important step is up to you, so call your dentist right away if you notice any of these symptoms.