3 Signs You Are On The Path To Periodontal Disease

3 Signs You Are On The Path To Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a problem that afflicts as many as half of all Americans. It is definitely an issue we encounter daily in our dental office. We always strive to catch the first signs of the disease and counsel our patients accordingly. Here are 3 things we watch for:

1. Gums that bleed after flossing.

Periodontal disease is caused by the failure to remove plaque and bacteria from in and around your teeth. The first stage is gingivitis, and the most common sign of gingivitis is gums that bleed after you floss. If you notice this happening, ask yourself when the last time you flossed was. If it has been a while, gingivitis may be to blame.

There are a couple of other circumstances that might cause your gums to bleed that are unrelated to gingivitis. Certain medications can thin your blood and make you more prone to bleeding. These medicines actually cause gingival overgrowth and swelling. Common culprits include seizure medications, immuno-suppressants and drugs used to treat high blood pressure. These side effects were first discovered in the 1960s after a new drug to treat children experiencing seizures was released and bleeding gums were reported.

Pregnancy can also cause bleeding gums as your hormone levels shift.

If you notice bleeding gums and dedicate yourself to better oral care habits going forward, you can expect the bleeding to continue for a couple weeks until your gums get used to the pressure and toughen up.

2. Gum Recession

All of us are born with a certain amount of gum tissue. Some people have more than others, but gums that are decreasing in size or length are receding, and can be an early sign of gum disease. One way to analogize the concept is to think about a house plant. If you removed all the dirt (gum tissue) from the pot, the roots (your teeth) would begin to shrivel up and they would eventually wither away. The same idea applies to your gums. If you gums keep receding, your teeth don’t have the foundation they need and they eventually can fall out.

When you come into our office for a cleaning and exam, we measure the length of your gums in millimeters. If we notice a decrease from a previous appointment we will let you know and talk to you about possible causes and solutions. It’s harder for patients to spot gum recession on their own at home, which is one of the reasons why twice-yearly checkups are so important!

3. Bad Breath

Bad breath is not just embarrassing, it can be a early sign that you are developing periodontal disease. When you fail to remove the food particles in between your teeth, bacteria pops up and the presence of bacteria releases unpleasant odors. If you leave this unchecked, gum disease and eventually periodontal disease can form.

So before you start popping mints and gum like crazy, consider the original source of your bad breath and put more diligent effort into daily brushing and flossing. If this doesn’t seem to help, it may be a cause unrelated to your gums.

*If you are concerned you may be exhibiting any of these signs of early gum disease, make an appointment to come in and get a thorough examination. If you already have periodontal disease, let us help you get back on track with periodontal therapy. We have several different services and levels of treatment that we would love to share with you.

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