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Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease is similar to high blood pressure and diabetes – often times it’s hard to know that you have it. It’s estimated that up to 70% of adults have some form of gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis). Once symptoms become obvious, or the problem is discovered in a routine exam, the disease can be fairly well established. If gum disease is left untreated, it can cause serious damage to the tissues of the gums and even spread to the jaw bone. For this reason, it is very important to see your dentist regularly.

Here are some common signs of gum disease to watch for:

Red, swollen or painful gums. Healthy gums are pink and firm; they should not be painful or swollen. Think of what an infected hangnail looks like – it’s a sign that something is going on inside your tissues.
Gums bleeding when you brush or floss. Bleeding does not occur with healthy gums. If your gums bleed, even when you brush using gentle pressure and a soft brush, don’t ignore it.
Bad breath. Does your breath smell less sweet than usual? Do you have a persistent bad taste in your mouth? Both of these unpleasant symptoms can be signs of gum disease, or they could indicate other oral health problems.
Pus or drainage. If you notice any drainage or pus from your gums, see your dentist immediately. Infection can cause pus-filled abscesses on and underneath diseased gums.
Receding gums. Diseased gums recede, exposing more and more of the teeth to view. Some recession gradually occurs with age (hence the term, “long-in-the-tooth”), but it could also be a sign of periodontitis, the leading cause of tooth loss.
Loose teeth. As gum disease advances, it attacks the tissues that hold teeth firmly in place. Eventually, your teeth will start to feel loose, making eating difficult and painful.
Gum disease can be easily diagnosed by your dentist. Early gum disease can often be effectively treated non-surgically. More advanced disease may require surgical intervention by a Periodontist who specializes in treating gums. The earlier you catch this progressive and chronic condition, the easier and more effective treatment can be.

Look for a dentist who will take the time to evaluate and discuss your condition and the treatment options in detail. At New Hampshire Center for Comprehensive Dentistry our Restorative Dentists and Periodontists make sure you have all the information you need to completely understand and make your best decisions for care. They also make sure you are comfortable during all gum disease treatments using effective local anesthetics, and offer options for sedation if necessary. If you have signs of gum disease don’t put off making an appointment to discuss your symptoms. Your teeth are depending on it.