5 Signs You Might Have Early Gum Disease and What to Do About It

Look for the signs of gum disease.

Gum disease, a silent ailment affecting many, jeopardizes our oral health, often unnoticed until it’s too late. It begins subtly, with minor symptoms easily overlooked, yet early detection and treatment are necessary. Addressing gum disease early can prevent its escalation, preserving both your smile and overall well-being.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, as defined by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Poor oral hygiene, characterized by inadequate brushing and flossing, leads to plaque buildup. 

This sticky bacterial film hardens, initiating gum inflammation, redness, and bleeding. Without intervention, the infection can advance to the bone, complicating chewing and potentially leading to tooth loss. So, how do you know if you are in the early stages of gum disease, and what can you do about it? Read on as we have the inside scoop.

Signs of Early Gum Disease

It’s important to have the knowledge to recognize the early signs of gum disease. Why? Nearly half of adults over 30 show symptoms, with severe cases leading to tooth loss, impacting diet and overall health. Key early signs include:

1. Bleeding Gums When Brushing or Flossing

This is often one of the first signs of gum disease. Healthy gums should not bleed, even with firm brushing or flossing. When plaque accumulates at the gumline, it irritates the gums, leading to inflammation and bleeding. Regular bleeding may indicate the early stages of gum disease, known as gingivitis, which, if left untreated, can progress to more serious conditions.

2. Persistent Bad Breath

Chronic bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth can be a sign of gum disease. This condition, also known as halitosis, is caused by plaque accumulation on teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that can irritate the gums and teeth, leading to bad breath. It’s important not to ignore persistent bad breath, as it may indicate an underlying problem with gum health.

3. Receding Gums

Gum recession happens when the gumline diminishes or pulls away from the teeth, revealing more of each tooth or its root. This process can lead to increased sensitivity and other dental issues. Further, receding gums can be a sign of gum disease progression, as the loss of gum tissue can lead to pockets or gaps between the teeth and gumline, making it easy for disease-causing bacteria to accumulate. 

4. Swollen or Tender Gums

Swelling, redness, and tenderness in the gums are common signs of inflammation, often caused by the buildup of plaque or tartar at the gumline. These symptoms may worsen during brushing or flossing. Swollen gums that feel tender when touched can indicate that your body is fighting off the infection present in the gums, a key characteristic of both gingivitis and more advanced periodontitis.

5. Changes in the Way Teeth Fit Together

If you notice a difference in how your teeth fit together when you bite down, or if there are changes in the fit of partial dentures, this could be a sign of advanced gum disease. As the disease progresses, it can destroy the supporting tissue and bone, causing teeth to shift or loosen. This can affect your bite and, if not addressed, may lead to tooth loss.

What should you do if you notice these signs?

If you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms, it’s time to take action. The first thing we suggest is scheduling an appointment with your dental office in Bedford. If you have inflamed gums or your gums are bleeding, we want to take a look and get to the bottom of the cause. During this appointment, we’ll take a look at your mouth, do a cleaning, and answer any questions you might have about our suggested treatment.

However, there are other things you should do as well.

Maintain good oral hygiene habits.

Regular, thorough brushing and flossing remove plaque and food particles, preventing the buildup that leads to gum disease. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing once daily are foundational habits for healthy gums.

Follow your dentist’s recommendations for treatment.

If gum disease is present, your dentist may recommend specific treatments such as deep cleaning (scaling and root planing), medications, or even surgery for advanced cases. Adhering to these recommendations can prevent further damage and restore gum health.

Discuss preventive measures with your dentist.

Prevention is key to avoiding gum disease recurrence. Your dentist can provide personalized advice on improving your oral hygiene routine, suggest regular dental checkups, and recommend products to help maintain your oral health.

Periodontal therapy can halt the progression of gum disease. 

Early detection of gum disease signs is an important aspect of protecting your oral health and preventing severe consequences. Your best defenses are taking prompt action, maintaining diligent oral hygiene, and seeking professional guidance. 

Let Davis Family Dental Care be your partner in achieving and maintaining optimal oral health. Schedule your appointment today and take the first step towards a healthier smile.