Are your gums healthy? Most people would probably answer that question with a “yes.” However, statistics show that nearly half of all adults in America suffer from gum disease. How can this be? One of the most common reasons is that gum disease is an insidious condition. It may be slowly destroying your oral health, while causing no pain and showing little to no visible signs.
Gum disease begins with bacteria and other microorganisms, which are naturally present in the mouth. Plaque is constantly forming, clinging to the teeth and soft tissues. Ideally, regular brushing and flossing removes the plaque before it hardens, and the number of harmful bacteria remains small enough to be harmless. However, factors such as neglected hygiene, weakened immune system, or bacterial imbalance can leave you susceptible to infection. As bacteria and plaque build up around teeth, they move below the gum line. Irritated gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, forming pockets where infection thrives. If not treated, it can progress until it reaches the jawbone, causing loss of bone mass, and eventually causing teeth to loosen and fall out.
The most common signs of gum disease include:
- A foul taste in your mouth
- Persistent bad breath, unrelated to what you have eaten
- Plaques or white spots on the gums
- A receding gum line
- Discoloration of the gum tissue, often appearing reddish or purplish
- Exposed tooth roots
- Bleeding around the teeth when you are brushing or flossing
- Cavities near the gum line
- Infective discharge (pus) present between the gum tissue and the teeth
- Spaces developing between the teeth, or teeth becoming crooked
- Swelling or puffiness in the gum tissue
- Gums that are tender or sensitive to the touch
- The formation of pockets around the teeth, where the gum tissue has pulled away
- Teeth that become sensitive to pressure or temperature
If you have noticed any of the above symptoms, or if it has been more than six months since your last dental visit, call us at (602) 954-8200 and schedule an appointment. Our office is conveniently located in Phoenix (85018).