When you go to the dentist for a cleaning or other services, they also likely perform a thorough check of your gums. They are looking for signs of periodontal disease, also called gum disease, which is an infection of the gums and possibly even the bone structures supporting your gums and teeth.

Known as gingivitis in its early stages, more advanced periodontal disease can cause your gums to recede, bone loss, loose and lost teeth, and even other more serious health complications. So, in this dental health blog, we’re diving into four signs of gum disease to be on the lookout for.

What Are the Signs of Gum Disease?

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, gum disease symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease. However, these signs may indicate you have gum disease:

  • Receding gum line: This happens when the soft tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, showing more of the tooth or its root.
  • Swollen gums: This happens when your gums become irritated and puff up, including tenderness and redness.
  • Bleeding gums: This mostly happens when brushing, flossing, or rinsing your mouth and usually means gum disease.
  • Bad breath: Chronic or extreme bad breath, known as halitosis, can often mean you have a build-up of bacteria related to gum disease.

When Should You See a Dentist About Gum Disease?

Ideally, you should be visiting your dentist 1-2 times per year for regular maintenance or cleanings for the best gum disease prevention. However, this isn’t always possible. It’s essential to take quick action and see a dentist as soon as possible when you notice any signs of gum disease. A dentist can thoroughly clean your gums and provide a plan of action for keeping gum disease at bay. 

Gum Disease May Be Linked to Other Serious Health Issues and Diseases

Although more research still needs to be done in larger populations, some research indicates that gum disease may be a risk factor for developing other diseases. For example, in a study published in Diabetologia, research showed that periodontal disease might be a complication of diabetes and make it harder for diabetic people to keep their blood pressure under control.

It’s also been speculated that gum disease may be linked to heart disease, cancer, and respiratory disease.

Alzheimer’s and Gum Disease

While it may be hard to believe, gum disease can even potentially impact your cognitive function. A study published in Neurobiol Aging linked the presence of periodontal disease with more build-up of a protein known to be associated with Alzheimer’s.

Genetic Predisposition to Periodontal Diseases

For some people, no matter how well they take care of their teeth and gums, they might still end up with gum disease. That’s because chronic types of periodontal disease may be genetic. A genetic predisposition, especially when coupled with certain environmental factors, may increase a person’s chance of struggling with gum disease.

How Do You Prevent Gum Disease?

As gum disease is caused by an increased build-up of the sticky bacteria known as plaque, the best way to prevent gum disease is always to have excellent oral care such as brushing, flossing, and mouthwash every day. Regular appointments with your dentist can help keep your gums healthy and treat any potential gum disease signs.

The Dentists at Legacy Dental Can Help You Fight Gum Disease

If you have noticed any signs of gum disease or are concerned that you may be at risk for gum disease, Legacy Dental can help. Schedule an appointment today and keep your gums and whole body healthy. Plus, for more dental health insights, stay tuned to our blog.