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How Can I Tell If I Have Gum Disease?

Image of normal healthy tooth vs gum disease (periodontitis)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all Americans over the age of 30 have gum disease. This condition is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease has strong links to other dangerous health conditions including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and premature birth.

The most interesting part? This disease is almost 100% preventable.

Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease that few people know about but that many people are affected by. It’s considered one of the “silent killers” because of how quickly and quietly it progresses.

Gum disease is a serious matter. You can’t afford to not know your risk.

So how do you tell if you have gum disease or not? Your answers to the following questions can help you get an idea.

How Do Your Gums Look?

Healthy gums should be a uniform color with a smooth and tight texture. Depending upon your complexion, your normal gum color could be coral pink, brown, light pink, or even a purple tone. The most important thing is that there shouldn’t be any areas that look swollen, rolled, or darker red than the others.

Bright or dark red gums or tissue that’s spongy and tender is a sign of the chronic inflammation that comes along with gum disease.

Do Your Gums Easily Bleed?

Contrary to popular belief, activities like flossing and getting your teeth cleaned should not make your gums bleed. It’s one thing if you accidentally cut your gums. But if simply bumping them with a toothbrush makes them bleed, then that’s a sign that something is wrong.

When gums become inflamed due to periodontitis, they swell with enlarged blood vessels and the outer layer of tissue thins out. This makes them apt to bleed under very little provocation. Healthy gum tissue, on the other hand, is much tougher.

Are You Plagued by Bad Breath?

There’s the bad breath that strikes after eating a meal loaded with garlic. There’s the bad breath that comes when you forgot to brush your teeth one day after having your morning coffee. And then there’s the bad breath that accompanies gum disease.

Advanced gum disease causes your gums to swell to the point that they start pulling away from your tooth roots and open up pockets for bacteria to collect. As the germs continue to attack the bone and ligaments around your teeth, the tissues break down and give off a rotting odor.

Bad breath from periodontitis is almost impossible to mask and won’t go away until you treat the disease. So if you suffer from incurable halitosis, then you may have gum disease.

Do You Suffer from Gum Recession?

Receding gums make teeth look long, yellow, and aged. They also expose the sensitive roots of your teeth and make it very difficult to enjoy hot or cold drinks. If your gums have been pulling away from your teeth at a surprising rate, this could be due to them swelling up and breaking from periodontitis.

Are Any of Your Teeth Loose?

Advanced periodontitis eventually attacks the ligaments that hold teeth in place. As teeth lose this support, they become wiggly and can fall out. Permanent adult teeth are not supposed to get loose so if you can move any of your teeth with your finger or tongue, then they may be in need of gum treatment.

Fight Back Against Gum Disease

If you think that you notice some signs that you may have gum disease then it’s time to get professional help. A dental team can help you identify the signs of periodontitis and recommend effective therapies for reversing it.

Get the best gum treatment by scheduling a consultation with a family dentist in Tacoma, Dr. Duke Bui.

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