Healthy gums are crucial to having a lifetime of healthy smiles. When you know how to maintain healthy gums, you protect the integrity of each tooth in your mouth.
Unfortunately, gum disease (periodontal disease) is the leading cause of tooth loss. Understanding the signs of gum disease and what you can do to keep gums healthy will give you a head start when it comes to tooth preservation.
Signs of Healthy Gum Tissue
Gingiva (gum) tissue should look smooth and tightly conform around each tooth, with a pointed “papilla” between each one. Most people have pink, coral-colored gingiva. A small percentage of people with high levels of melanin in their skin may have brown or spotted/speckled gum tissues. However, healthy gums should never look red or inflamed.
Your gums should cover the root surface of each tooth, with a scalloped edge that traces throughout your smile around every tooth.
Signs of Gum Disease
How can you tell if your gums are not healthy or if you’re beginning to develop periodontal disease? Some of the most noticeable signs of gum disease include:
Receding Gums— Gums should frame each tooth and cover the root surfaces. If the gums are starting to recede and the root is visible, gum disease may be the cause behind it.
Bleeding Gum Tissues—Bleeding gums are not normal. You should be able to brush and floss without gum tissues bleeding. If they do bleed, you probably have some type of gum infection.
Bad Breath—Chronic halitosis could be a tell-tale symptom of gum disease. Since the bacteria lurks deep below the gum tissues, no amount of mouthwash or breath mints will help with the odor.
Tartar Buildup—Visible, heavy tartar buildup is a common symptom of untreated periodontal disease. One of the first places it’s visible is around the lower front teeth.
Sore or Loose Teeth—As the tissues around infected teeth become compromised, they start to loosen and pull away from the root of the tooth. Gradually these teeth will become mobile and possibly fall out. They can also feel sore when you’re chewing or biting down.
Red, Swollen Gums—Our body’s natural response to a bacterial infection is to rush antibodies into that space, resulting in swollen tissues and redness.
If you smoke or use tobacco products, you might not see the same redness or swelling with gum disease as a non-smoker does. Be on the lookout for other symptoms and always see our San Diego dentist for checkups to ensure periodontal disease doesn’t go undetected.
There are also symptoms of periodontal disease that you can’t see for yourself, but your dentist will notice during an exam. Such as bone loss on your dental X-rays, or periodontal “pocketing” around the affected teeth.
How to Maintain Healthy Gums
To keep your gums healthy, plan on:
- Flossing around every tooth, every day
- Gently brushing along the gums twice a day to remove plaque
- Scheduling a dental cleaning every six months
- Treating periodontal disease as quickly as possible
Since plaque tends to collect just under the edges of your gums, it’s important for floss to gently slip underneath the gum tissues to disrupt the buildup in those spaces. Water flossing is also an excellent alternative to traditional floss (although it’s a bit messier.)
Your smile isn’t the only thing that relies on healthy gums. Your overall health does too. It turns out that the more aggressive your gum disease is, he more likely you are to experience trouble with heart disease, infertility, pneumonia, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, stroke, and other medical conditions. As you gain better control over bacterial levels inside your mouth, your immune system also benefits!
Gum Disease Treatment (San Diego)
If you’re experiencing any symptoms of gum disease, call our dentist in San Diego. Altrock Fabb Dental offers periodontal therapy options to help stop the spread of gum disease and prevent relapse. For bleeding gums or gingivitis that doesn’t improve with regular brushing and flossing, be sure to see our San Diego dentist for a gum disease screening.
Contact us today to request an appointment.