What are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

Gum disease, if left untreated can have serious consequences on your dental health. It is estimated that nearly 50% of adults have gum disease. Most are unaware until the infection becomes severe because at first, the symptoms are mild and may not be noticed. If caught early, however, gum disease can be easily treated. If it goes untreated, gum disease can cause serious damage to your gums, teeth, and even jaw bone. It is important to be familiar with the symptoms of gum disease so that it can be treated by your periodontist as early as possible.

1. Tender or Swollen Gums

An early sign of gum disease is experiencing tenderness and swelling of the gums. Inflammation in your gums causes discomfort while brushing your teeth or while eating certain foods.

2. Tooth Sensitivity

Many patients begin experiencing sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks when they have gum disease. This is because gum disease can cause the gum recession, exposing the root of your tooth. If you start experiencing discomfort or tooth pain when you eat your favorite ice cream or while sipping hot tea, it is a good idea to schedule a visit with a periodontist.

3. Bleeding Gums

Inflammation caused by gum disease leads to your gums bleeding easily when you brush or floss your teeth. Though your gums may sometimes bleed some if you brush too hard, bleeding gums should not be a regular occurrence. Bleeding gums, along with swelling, is often the first sign of gum disease.

4. Persistent Bad Breath

The bad breath caused by gum disease goes beyond a little bad breath. Gum disease is most often caused by a lack of proper oral hygiene. When you fail to floss thoroughly or brush daily, plaque forms on your teeth and begins to accumulate and harden. The bacteria in plaque build-up leads to persistent bad breath.

5. Loose or Separating Teeth

Gum disease can cause the gums that surround and support your teeth to deteriorate, which can make your teeth feel loose or start to shift and separate. Many patients even report that the way their teeth fit together when they bite down feels different.

What Causes Gum Disease and How to Avoid It

There are several causes of gum disease. For the most part, gum disease is caused by poor dental hygiene habits, but there are risk factors that make you more susceptible to infection. Genetics, smoking, systemic diseases, poor nutrition, and age increase your chances of developing gum disease. If you fall under any of these categories, it does not mean that you are destined to a life with gum disease, it just means you have to be extra diligent about your dental healthcare.

To avoid gum disease, it is vital to practice healthy dental hygiene habits:

  • Brushing twice daily
  • Flossing daily
  • Regular check-ups with your Periodontist

Additionally, awareness of your increased risk factors and the warning signs of gum disease will go a long way in preventing infection. You and your periodontist can work together towards a plan for maintaining pristine dental hygiene.

What to Do If You Notice Symptoms of Gum Disease

Developing gum disease is a common occurrence for most adults. But with preventative measures and the guidance of an experienced periodontist, you can maintain your happy, healthy smile. If you are displaying any of the signs and symptoms of gum disease, schedule an appointment with your Rochester periodontist today at 585.685.2005.

Board Certified Periodontist

Dr. Thomas Zahavi is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. He completed his post-graduate periodontal education at the Eastman Dental Center at the University of Rochester in 2006.

Dr. Zahavi obtained his combined DMD and Master’s degree Summa Cum Laude from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1997). He then pursued a speciality program in Prosthodontics (the restoration and replacement of teeth), receiving the highest honors in the residency program (2001). In 2003 he relocated with his family to the USA in pursuit of a residency program in Periodontology at the University of Rochester/ Eastman Institute for Oral Health. He was awarded a Certificate of Excellence from the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation and honored with a research fellowship from a major dental implant company. He is a Board-Certified Periodontist (USA) and Prosthodontist (Israel). His clinical experience and training in the two specialities proves to be invaluable, especially in patients requiring comprehensive periodontal and implant treatments.

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