What are your gums telling you?
Do you have red, sore gums? Have you noticed any bleeding or tenderness when you brush your teeth lately? Do you have any discomfort when you chew or teeth that seem a bit unstable and loose?
These are all indications of an oral infection called gum disease. If you have any of these signs, you are not alone.
Can gum irritation be a temporary problem?
Perhaps the inflammation could be minor and short-lived if you have recently had some sort of accidental scratch or other contact with your gums, but it is more likely to be the beginnings of gingivitis. Many Americans suffer from this and seek treatment early to prevent long-term damage.
It is a common, but preventable problem caused by a build-up of bacteria and plaque left behind on your teeth. This is the stuff that sometimes gets missed with simple toothbrushing. Adding flossing to your cleaning routine can help clear away much of this excess plaque and keep your gums healthier.
How bad can your gums get if you do nothing?
Like any infection, especially if you already have symptoms of bleeding, along with swollen or sensitive gums, it is only going to get worse. It can lead to periodontitis, a nastier and more advanced stage of the disease. Here are a few symptoms that appear once the infection progresses:
- Persistent halitosis, or bad breath, that is not improved by even the strongest mouthwash
- Painful mouth sores and pockets of pus that begin to gather between your teeth and ooze out
- Shifting or loosening teeth
If you think your gums are infected, what can you do?
Contact a qualified dentist for an examination and recommended treatment. Diseased and infected gums are very treatable, but the longer you delay that care, the greater the risk of long-term problems.
If the disease advances far enough, it can affect the healthy bone and tissue that normally support your teeth. Additionally, research shows that there is a connection between infected gums and other health issues, including:
- Heart attacks
- Respiratory diseases
- Premature births
If you have any questions about gum disease or your oral health, please ask.