The Biggest Issue with Gum Disease
The biggest issue with gum disease is that it is not easily detected because in most cases, there is no pain associated with the infection. On average, people don't spend time regularly checking their gums themselves, so they aren't trained to know what an infected gum would look like. A dentist can spot any abnormalities in your gum health, especially if you visit the dentist for regular checkups.
When gum disease, like gingivitis, is detected, your dentist will immediately work to help reverse the issue. This often means being referred to a periodontist specializing in gum health. The earlier gingivitis is caught, the likelier your chances for reversing the infection. If not detected soon enough, that could permanently damage the tooth and gums.
Unless these steps are taken regularly, bacteria grown throughout the day will stay in the mouth and thrive on the tooth's surface and underneath the gum line.
Plaque is formed when bacteria multiply and soon turns into tartar or calculus (hardened plaque). In the case of tartar, only a periodontist can remove it by scaling.
Hardened plaque can, however, lead to bacterial infection (gingivitis) if left untreated. Without treatment, gingivitis turns into periodontitis, which is not treatable.
The failure to take proper care of periodontal disease can result in partial or complete tooth loss. In addition, use of tobacco products, such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco, is directly linked to gum disease.
While regular checkups, every 6-months, are vital to your gum health, it is also essential to understand the difference between healthy gums and unhealthy gums for your at-home routine. If you begin to see signs of unhealthy gums caused by an infection, then your dentist or periodontist will be able to reverse the issue sooner.
What do healthy gums look like?
At a dental checkup, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums' health. You won't even notice that a screening is taking place in many cases because it is as simple as looking at the gum surface. It's usually a quick and painless experience if you visit a dentist regularly.
Gums that are healthy will be able to display the following characteristics:
- The gums are a light shade of pink
- After brushing or flossing, there are no signs of bleeding
- There is no decay near the root of the tooth and the gums are firm
- A normal gum line surrounds the tooth and does not appear enlarged
What do unhealthy gums look like?
Bacteria grow inside our mouths throughout the day, so we should brush and floss regularly. It is essential to clean your mouth properly so that the bacteria do not turn into an infection such as gingivitis or gum disease. The condition is not easily detected by individuals, so seeing a dentist or periodontist is important for proper diagnosis.
Here are some things you can check at home to see if you need to schedule an appointment:
- Are the gums a deep or darker red color?
- Are your gums swollen? If the gum line begins to puff up at the base of the teeth, this is a good indicator.
- After brushing or flossing, do your gums bleed frequently?
- Do you suffer from chronic bad breath?