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What Are Some Signs of Gum Disease?
Various forms of gum disease are prevalent conditions affecting almost half of all American adults. Some people go years without realizing that they have this disease. However, because prevention and early detection are so important, it is necessary for patients to be aware of the common signs and symptoms. According to the American Dental Association, periodontal disease has a strong correlation with heart disease and diabetes. Therefore, seeking treatment for this condition is about more than oral health; it can greatly impact overall health.
Common signs of gum disease
Symptoms of gum disease do not always appear until the later stages. This shows how important it is that patients receive routine dental care so that issues can be detected in the earlier stages. At that point, treatment options are more conservative.
Healthy gums should not bleed when brushing or flossing. Patients who notice this symptom should seek immediate treatment from a dentist. This indicates that there is chronic inflammation in the gums. The earliest stage of gum disease, gingivitis, can cause this, as well as more advanced stages.
Sometimes, bad breath is related to dietary habits or poor oral hygiene care. It can be a sign of a more serious problem, though. Harmful bacteria that are the culprits in periodontitis can cause chronic bad breath. Patients sometimes report that halitosis is present no matter how much they brush. At this point, certain types of periodontal therapy can intervene to reduce the amount of bacteria present.
Gum disease is the number-one cause of tooth loss in adults. The teeth become loose gradually, so many patients do not notice until the teeth are very mobile. If a patient notices any loose teeth that are not a direct result of trauma, a consultation should be made with a dentist as soon as possible. Sometimes, the teeth can be stabilized, but more severe cases may require extraction.
Recession happens when the gums pull away from a tooth and expose some of the root structure. This condition also happens gradually. Patients may notice that the teeth are more sensitive in these areas. The exposed root surface is softer than enamel, so it is easier for a cavity to form on these spots. While some gum recession is expected with aging, severe amounts should be a concern.
Because gum disease is a largely preventable condition, it is important that patients know the early signs and symptoms of this chronic disorder. While the destruction from periodontitis cannot always be reversed, it can often be halted. Regular maintenance appointments are critical for patients with gum disease, as it is a lifelong condition that requires careful monitoring.
Even when patients are not experiencing any signs of gum disease, regular dental appointments are necessary for prevention. A patient should not wait until problems appear to make an appointment with a dentist; instead, they should resolve to schedule care on a routine basis.
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