You’ve probably heard of gum disease. It starts out as gingivitis and then can progress to full blown periodontal disease.
Gingivitis is a mild inflammation of the gums that isn’t painful. You may notice that your gums are red and puffy. When you brush, you may notice that your gums are bleeding. They may also bleed when you floss. Gingivitis can also cause really bad breath. The good news with gingivitis is that it is reversible and will go away when you brush well for two minutes twice a day and floss at least once a day.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to something much more serious called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease not only affects the gums (like gingivitis) but it also affects the bone that support the teeth. It can cause bone loss and can be a way you can lose your teeth. The following are signs of periodontal disease:
- Receding gums: Your teeth may look longer and your teeth may become more sensitive because the roots have become exposed.
- Your permanent teeth may become lose or shift
- The way you bite may change; your teeth might fit together differently when you bite down.
- You may have bad breath or a bad taste that won’t go away.
You’ll need your dentist and hygienist to help you treat periodontal disease and once you have it, it never goes away. You can help slow the process of this disease by taking excellent care of your teeth at home. Brush for two minutes twice a day and floss at least once a day.
The following are a list of things that can put you at risk for periodontal disease.
- Poor oral hygiene
- If you don’t keep your teeth clean, bacteria can adhere to your teeth and gums and cause gum disease (and cavities).
- Excellent oral hygiene is the most important thing you can do to combat gum disease
- Tobacco use
- This includes anything you smoke, snuff, and also vaping.
- Certain illnesses
- Cancer treatment
- High blood pressure medications
- Medications for heart conditions
- Hormonal changes increase the risk of pregnancy induced gingivitis
It’s always a good idea to ask your dentist about your gum health at your next visit.