Gum disease is probably the most serious threat to your oral health. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. It is also the most common cause of receding gums. Not only does it threaten your teeth and gums, it can damage your overall health, increasing your risk of health problems like heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer.
So it’s important to get gum disease treated early. However, since gum disease has subtle symptoms, you may not notice them at first unless you’re really looking for them. Here are some of the things to look out for.
What You May See
Few gum disease symptoms are highly visible. But if you look closely, you may see some. First, you may notice that your gums are red and inflamed–swollen or puffy looking.
You may also notice bleeding from your gums. This includes bleeding that occurs after brushing your teeth or flossing–your gums shouldn’t bleed during routine care.
You might also notice your gums receding. You might not know exactly where your gums used to be, but there are several clues you can use to identify receding gums.
First, you might notice a line of hardened deposits stuck to the side of your tooth. This is tartar, and it typically forms at the gum line. If this is above your gum line, it’s because your gums are receding. You might also notice that your teeth seem to be getting longer. Or maybe you see that the pink gum tissue between your gums is gone, revealing black triangles of empty space. Receding gums can sometimes reveal the tooth root, which is covered with a different material–cementum, not enamel. Cementum is darker and rougher than enamel, so you should be able to identify it.
You may also notice that your teeth are drifting, growing more crooked, crowded, tilted, or gapped.
What You May Feel
Gum disease may not feel like much of anything at first, but eventually you will feel the symptoms. At first, your gums will just feel tender and sensitive to brushing and eating. You may notice more foods making their way between your tooth and gum.
As receding gums exposes your cementum, your teeth may grow sensitive to temperature changes.
In the late stages of gum disease, your jawbones may begin to hurt–and you may notice that your teeth have become loose.
What You May Taste or Smell
We already noted that your gums may bleed, so a persistent or recurrent taste of blood in your mouth is a warning sign of gum disease.
As unpleasant as it is to think about, gum disease is a persistent infection, and it can sometimes behave like an infected wound. This means you may have oozing pus in your mouth, which you may notice as a persistent foul taste or odor in your mouth. It can be as bad as or worse than an infected tooth.
Or You Can Make Regular Dental Checkups
On the other hand, if you’re concerned about gum disease, you can keep a watch out for it by making your regular dental checkups. We can watch out for gum disease symptoms for you.
If you’re performing good oral hygiene, it’s rare for gum disease to progress rapidly between dental visits. Twice a year is usually enough to check on the health of your gums.