Recognizing the Early Signs of Gum Disease

Recognizing the early stages of gum disease is important so that your dentist can treat your condition before it leads to irreversible damage to your smile. In more advanced stages, only surgery can prevent the disease from worsening. Our experienced dentists at Downtown Dental Studio, located in the Financial District of New York City, want you to know what to look out for. 

Gum disease is caused primarily by poor dental hygiene. If you don’t brush, floss, and rinse your teeth properly, bacterial growth thrives. Without proper hygiene or dental checkups, you run a higher risk of missing the early signs of gum disease. 

Gingivitis

Gum disease typically starts with a case of gingivitis. Gingivitis develops when bacteria forms around plaque buildup. Your mouth is a nice, warm environment where this bacteria thrives if it isn’t properly treated. 

Swollen gums

Healthy gums are usually pale pink and hold your teeth firmly in place. The first sign of gingivitis is your gums beginning to inflame and feel tender. They can periodically bleed during tooth brushing, and bleeding is a good sign you’re developing gingivitis. At this stage, your gums are irritated, but there isn’t yet permanent bone or tissue damage.

Bad breath

As gingivitis progresses, you may start to notice you experience bad breath. This occurs as the accumulation of bacteria around your dental plaque gets worse. These toxins release a foul odor that becomes apparent over time. Having bad breath is a sign your gingivitis may develop into periodontitis. 

Periodontitis 

If you don’t recognize the early signs, you risk more permanent side effects. Periodontitis is the next stage of gum disease. Inflamed, swollen gums begin to experience tissue and bone damage. This condition is common among patients, but it’s still treatable with a professional dentist.  

Tartar buildup

A sign that your gum disease is progressing is tartar buildup. Over time, plaque hardens into a rigid, dark substance. Tartar under your gums can start to eat away at them, causing serious damage. Unlike plaque, tartar cannot be treated with brushing and flossing alone. It requires attention from a dentist. 

Receding gums

As plaque, tartar, and bacteria grow, they form deep pockets between your gums and your teeth. The soft tissue in your gums recedes as well as the bone underneath, exposing more of your teeth. Your exposed teeth become more sensitive to temperature. Drinking and eating become painful. 

Permanent tooth loss

The final stage of gum disease is permanent tooth loss. As your gums continue to recede and bone becomes damaged, your teeth start to lose support. The alignment of your teeth can start to change, and if left untreated, you can start to lose your teeth. 

Weakening immune system

Gum disease can lead to stress on your immune system. Patients with gum disease are at higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, pneumonia, and even cancer. 

Don’t miss the early signs of gum disease. Schedule an appointment with one of our dentists at Downtown Dental Studio by calling our office or booking online.

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