When you learn about the things you want to avoid regarding oral health concerns, you generally hear most about tooth decay and gum disease. While you know that decay includes the formation of cavities, you might not know as much about what can go wrong with your gum tissue. How do you find out if your gums are or are not healthy? Are there obvious signs? What is periodontal disease, anyway? The good news is that providing your smile with the care we recommend every day (dental hygiene) and every six months (professional cleanings and checkups), you’re on track. As for the details, get ready to learn a bit.
What Is Gum Disease?
Also referred to as periodontal disease, this is an issue that affects your gum tissue in a negative way. The problem begins with inflammation and may end with infection and the destruction of not only your gum tissue but also all other supportive tissues, including your jawbone. Here’s what happens:
- Plaque accumulates beneath your gumline
- Plaque hardens into tartar (also called calculus)
- Gum tissue becomes irritated and then becomes inflamed
- Infection occurs
- Gum tissue pulls away from teeth
- The disease continues to advance as gums continue to recede
What Are the Symptoms?
Symptoms can let you know that something is wrong with your gum health. However, keep in mind that your checkups are extremely important because gum disease symptoms don’t always present themselves immediately – sometimes, you’ll only notice them once the disease is well underway. If you’re curious about reasons to contact us, common gum symptoms may include:
- Your gums may bleed, especially when brushing or flossing
- Gum tissue may appear bright red or purple instead of a healthy, soft pink color
- You have bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Your gums feel tender
- Your gums are receding