How Do I Know If I Have A Gum Disease & What Do I Do About It?

Gum disease affects nearly half of all American adults, and many people are unaware that they suffer from this chronic oral health issue. So what is gum disease? How do you recognize it? And what should you do about it? In this blog from Kite & Key Dentistry, we’ll discuss everything you need to know. 

What Is Gum Disease? 

Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue. It is mostly caused by poor oral hygiene habits, but there are other factors that can contribute to this issue, too. Gum disease happens when bacteria in your mouth build up, form plaque and tartar between the teeth and gums, and then attack your gum tissue.

In the short term, this only results in minor inflammation and some other mild symptoms. But over time, the infection will continue to get worse, and this can result in permanent damage to your teeth and gums. 

Recognizing The Signs & Symptoms Of Gum Disease

The initial stage of gum disease is reversible, and causes relatively minor signs and symptoms. These include:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Dark or discolored gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding when brushing

As time goes on and gingivitis gets worse, it progresses to the second stage of gum disease, usually called “periodontitis.” This is not reversible, but gum disease can still be controlled and its progression can be halted at this stage. Symptoms of this include:

  • Gum recession, which causes the teeth to look longer
  • Gum pain and tenderness
  • Tooth pain and sensitivity when chewing
  • A change in how your teeth fit together

The final stage is called “advanced periodontitis.” In this stage of gum disease, the gums and structures of your teeth have been severely damaged, and you may require most or all of your teeth to be extracted and replaced. Its symptoms include:

  • Loosening or loss of teeth
  • A foul taste in the mouth
  • Pus forming between the teeth and gums

Treating Gum Disease – The Most Important Steps To Take 

There are a few different steps you should take if you suspect you may have gum disease. Remember, the sooner you get treatment, the better your outcome will be, so get help right away. 

  • Professional periodontal care – If you suspect that you have gum disease, the most important thing to do is to see a dentist like Dr. Julia Winter at Kite & Key Dentistry. A dentist may recommend professional treatments like deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) to fight back against gum disease, and further surgical treatments may be necessary if you have advanced gum disease.

  • Proper at-home oral hygiene – You will need to brush at least twice a day for two minutes, and floss once per day. Your dentist may also prescribe antiseptic mouthwash to eliminate bacteria in your mouth. Follow all of their instructions to maintain good at-home oral hygiene.

  • Lifestyle changes – You may need to make some changes to your lifestyle, such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and avoiding sugary drinks, to name just a few. Your dentist can help you understand which lifestyle choices may be contributing to gum disease, and what changes you may need to make.

Contact Kite & Key Dentistry For More Information About Gum Disease 

If you think you may have gum disease and need treatment in Ridley Township, Ridley Park, or Folson, Dr. Julia Winter is here for you. Contact Kite & Key Dentistry online or give us a call at 484-240-7741 to schedule a consultation now, and get the professional gum disease treatment you need for a healthier mouth.

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