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How Do I Know If I Have Gum Disease?

Our mouths are sensitive things, making it exceptionally important to properly care for them. Unfortunately, almost everyone experiences some form of issue—big or small—related to their dental and oral health at some point in life. While some of these things resolve on their own or with minimal effort, others require a bit more attention and effort.

Gum disease is a relatively common medical condition from which many people suffer. Unless you are a dentist or have recently visited your dentist, you may not even realize that you have gum disease, which makes it far more serious than it has to be. The longer such a condition goes unchecked, the more it can develop and worse it can become.

As such, diagnosis of gum disease is key to preventing further damage and beginning the healing process. To help you identify the signs of gum disease and facilitate the early detection of the condition, we’ve put together a quick guide. Read on to learn about gum disease, what it is, what symptoms to look for, and more!

Defining Gum Disease

The term “gum disease” can actually refer to quite a few different conditions. This is because the gums can be affected by many bacterial infections, all of which can lead to gum disease if not treated in a timely manner. The two types of gum disease you will likely hear about are gingivitis and periodontitis, which is an inflammatory condition that impacts the bones supporting the gums and the gums themselves.

Identifying Gum Disease

It is important to catch gum disease early so that it can be treated, and damage can be mitigated. Unfortunately, the most common indicators of gum disease are easy to overlook, allowing them to go undetected for quite some time. To minimize risk, keep an eye out for these telltale signs of gum disease, no matter how easy they are to miss.

Bad Breath

Speaking of symptoms that are easy to overlook, bad breath is often an indicator of gum disease. While often dismissed as a consequence of poor oral hygiene or your latest garlic-heavy meal, consistent bad breath can be an accurate sign of bacterial growth—a surefire symptom of gum disease.

Bleeding Gums

While it is normal for gums to bleed on occasion—if you brush too aggressively, for example—it is not normal for them to bleed continuously. They also shouldn’t bleed each time you brush your teeth. If you experience such bleeding, it is safe to assume something may be wrong, and you should go see your dentist!

Inflamed Gums

Inflamed, swollen, or red gums could be a sign that you have an infection. Your gums should be pink and without any tenderness. Any pain or swelling is a strong indicator that something may be amiss, including the possibility of an infection that can lead to gum disease.

Receding Gums

If you’re looking a little long in the tooth—literally—you should probably visit the dentist. Receding gums can make teeth appear longer, and nothing can be done to fix this once the receding has occurred. As such, it is vital to see your dentist as soon as possible if you suspect your gums have begun receding.

What You Can Do

Keep a close eye on these potential indicators of gum disease so that you can reduce the risk of long-term damage. You should also visit your dentist regularly so they can give your teeth a thorough cleaning and diagnose any possible problems in advance. Catching gum infections and disease early is the best way to deal with them, so stay alert and visit your dentist!