Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, and results from a buildup of plaque along and underneath the gum line. If not treated, gingivitis can develop into gum disease and can cause more severe issues in the future, such as loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth. The best way to prevent gum disease is to adhere to a good daily brushing and flossing routine and maintain regular visits to your dentist for thorough cleanings and checkups.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
If you’re currently experiencing pain or sensitivity around your gums, here are some common symptoms of gum disease:
- Gums that bleed easily or are tender*
- Red or swollen gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Consistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
- Pain when chewing
- Loose teeth or teeth that look like they're separating from one another
- A receding gum line
- A change in jaw or teeth alignment
*If you have recently started a new flossing routine, it is normal for gums to bleed a little. This should subside within one to two weeks. If the bleeding persists, contact your dentist. Gums are also more prone to tenderness or bleeding during pregnancy. Read more about dental care during pregnancy.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
Gum disease can happen to anyone, but there are a few risk factors that can affect how prone you are to gum disease:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking or chewing tobacco (this is the leading cause of oral cancer, too)
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make gums red, swollen and more sensitive
- Those with diabetes are generally at a higher risk of developing gum disease
- Certain medications have side effects that increase the risk of gum disease
If your dentist discovers signs of gum disease, learn the common gum disease treatment a Dental Associates periodontist will recommend.
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