Even Brushing Twice a Day May Not be Enough to Protect Your Gums
That unusual bit of blood you spit out after your routine morning teeth brushing session may signify something more serious, like gingivitis, the early start of periodontal disease. If left untreated, this could ultimately result in tooth loss.
“Your gums should be pink and firm,” says Dr. Brian Shepanski. “If you notice sudden bad breath, bite changes, or swollen, red or bleeding gums, it could signify gingivitis and you should seek advice from your dentist. Oftentimes a good professional cleaning and some basic improvements in home oral care will completely reverse your symptoms.”
What is Gingivitis and Periodontitis?
Gingivitis is caused when plaque forms on the teeth and hardens into a thick deposit called tartar. If the plaque and tartar are left on the teeth they can encroach below the gum line, causing gingivitis.
It’s important to note that most damage is reversible at this early stage in gum disease. Twice yearly professional dental cleaning will remove any plaque build-up that you may have missed during your home oral hygiene regime.
Left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis where the plaque has spread deeper into the gum line causing irreversible damage to the supporting bone and connective tissue. This aggressive gum disease has even been linked to heart disease.
Gum Disease Red Flags
• Constant bad breath, or a metallic-like taste in your mouth that doesn’t go away
• Purplish, puffy, swollen or tender gums, especially when brushing or flossing
• Receding gums from your teeth – making your teeth appear longer
• Bleeding gums or even pus when or after brushing or flossing
• Bite changes or changes in the fit of a partial bridge
• Loose teeth (in later stages)
“We can’t stress enough the fact that early stage gum disease is reversible if you catch it in time.” says Shepanski. Make sure to visit your dentist twice a year to keep your teeth and gums in check.