Gum disease (Periodontal Disease) is an infection that attacks the soft tissues and bone surrounding your teeth. What can start as a reversible condition can quickly escalate into a more serious issue that requires professional treatment and meticulous at-home care. If you’re wondering how to spot gum disease early, you are advised to listen to a dentist in Salem who offers a list of signs you can watch for should you believe your oral health is at risk.
What Dangers Can Gum Disease Present?
When bacteria from plaque and tartar accumulate near the gum line, it begins to infect the gingival (gum) tissue, thus, attacking it. While you may not immediately notice the signs, some are more identifiable while others are more subdued. Some of the most common signs of early gum disease include:
- Red gums that appear puffy or inflamed
- Bleeding when flossing and/or brushing your teeth
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Bad breath
- Receding gum line
Although this disease is found in at least half of the adult population in the United States, most individuals ignore the early warning signs and forgo immediate dental care. As a result, the infection worsens and continues to cause additional problems within the mouth and ultimately, throughout the body.
Patients who suffer from more advanced forms of gum disease tend to experience tooth supporting bone and tooth loss. Should the bacteria enter the bloodstream, it can travel to various parts of the body and contribute to other health conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular disease (i.e. heart attack, stroke)
- Neurological disease (i.e. Alzheimer’s, Dementia)
- Respiratory disease
Why It’s Important to Pursue Regular Preventive Care
The most effective way to prevent and combat gum disease is to maintain regular dental checkups and cleanings. During a normal checkup, your dental provider will chart the depth of your gum pockets. Should they appear to be too deep, this can signal potential problems developing within the tissue. If caught in its early stages, gum disease can be more easily managed with frequent maintenance and good oral habits practiced at home.
Should infection develop, gum disease therapy will need to be performed in order to keep it from causing your bone to deteriorate or your teeth to become loose. Periodontal patients requiring this type of treatment are often required to maintain dental visits every 3-4 months to ensure the damage does not continue to progress.
Although gum disease is common among other adults, it does not have to be your reality. By taking proper care of your teeth and gums at home and watching for any early signs of infection, you can remain in charge of your gum health and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.
About the Author
Drs. Travis and Christel Cochell are a husband and wife team who own and operate Cochell Family Dentistry in Salem, Oregon. Offering patients personalized treatment options, they can help individuals who are suffering from gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, improve their oral and overall health. Gum disease therapy is a beneficial service that our dental professionals are skilled and equipped to provide. Should you believe you have the signs and symptoms associated with periodontal disease, contact us at (971) 273-5910.