Dentists don’t just help you take care of your teeth. Gum health is an important part of what dentists do for their patients. This includes fighting against gum disease, aka periodontal disease. Gum disease is a condition that affects roughly 47% of Americans over the age of 30, according to the CDC. Gum disease is a very treatable condition, but it is much easier to combat and manage in the early stages. For more on the different stages, check out our previous article here. Below, we will discuss some signs of early gum disease, and how you can keep your gums healthy.
What Do Healthy Gums Look Like?
Before we go into unhealthy gums, it is important to know what a healthy set of gums should look like. Firstly, gums should be pink in color, with very little difference in color around the mouth. They should also be stippled in texture, like an orange peel. They should also sit at the edge of your teeth, without puffing over them or exposing the roots. These are signs of healthy gums. Next, we will discuss the signs of early gum disease.
Puffy Or Swelled Gums
Bacteria and plaque buildup in the mouth can lead to inflammation of the gums. Overall, this can lead to puffy, swelled gums. This is a sign of infection in the gums! Regular brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to your dentist and hygienist, can reduce plaque buildup that causes inflammation and infection.
Bright Red or Purplish Gums
Purple or red discoloration of the gums can be a sign of infection in the gums. Often, this discoloration happens right below the teeth. This is a telltale sign of gum disease.
Tender or Sore Gums
Irritation and soreness in the gums can be a sign of several issues, including diseased gums. They can also, however, be a sign of brushing too hard, or problems with dentures or braces. For women, tenderness of the gums can also be a sign of hormonal changes related to menstruation, menopause, or pregnancy. If none of the above applies, it could be a sign of gum disease. Pain in the gums from periodontal disease can be a sign of worsening inflammation.
Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease
Healthy gums generally don’t bleed. If your gums bleed from brushing, it is likely that you have gum disease. If your gums are bleeding while flossing for the first time in a while, that may occur. But if your gums bleed while flossing regularly, that is a problem. If your gums bleed while eating, that is definitely a sign of periodontal issues. While you may not notice bleeding gums, you may see a pink tint to your toothbrush bristles. This is from small amounts of blood that you may not have noticed.
Halitosis and Gum Disease
Halitosis, or bad breath, is often caused by a buildup of plaque, bacteria, and food particles in the mouth. This buildup can also contribute to or be a sign of gum disease. Poor brushing and flossing habits can also contribute to both halitosis and gum disease. For more on Halitosis, see our previous article here.
Talk With Your Dentist About Gum Disease
Gum disease in its early stages can be reversed with proper in-home oral care and regular visits to the dentist. As it advances, further care from your dentist may be necessary to combat it. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are your best defense. If you are noticing the above signs, be sure to talk with your dentist about care options available to you.
A Center for Dental Excellence does not provide medical or healthcare advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
A Center for Dental Excellence provides expert dental care to the Brooklyn and Staten Island communities we serve. To schedule an appointment or consultation, contact us or call the office you would like to visit. (718) 232-8289 for Brooklyn, and (718) 980-9555 for Staten Island.