Gums are often forgotten body parts. However, they need careful care, or they may succumb to periodontal disease, better known as gum disease. The bad news is that gum disease, if left untreated, can kill you. Is gum disease treatable? That’s the good news. It’s not incurable and gum disease symptoms are easily treatable.
Just how common is periodontal disease? The Surgeon General estimates that about 80 percent of all Americans over 35 suffer from some form of gum disease. It strikes people of all ages. Taking steps to prevent gum disease in teenagers and gum disease in 20s helps not only your teeth, but your bones and your whole body.
About Gum Disease, Gingivitis and Tartar
Gum disease is basically caused by bacteria left on the gums, or in the pockets trapped between the teeth and the gums. Eventually, the bacteria build up into plaque. The plaque causes tartar, which causes inflammation of the gums, which is called gingivitis. Not everyone who has gingivitis has gum disease. Think of gingivitis as the first step to gum disease.
Just what causes gingivitis differs from person to person. For some people, it may be a combination of causes. According to the Mayo Clinic, the main causes of gingivitis are:
- Poor brushing and flossing habits
- Genetic predispositions
- Certain medications like calcium channel blockers and some seizure medications
- Smoking or use of chewing tobacco
- Chronic dry mouth
- Malnutrition, especially if you do not get enough Vitamin C
- Big changes in the type and amount of hormones in the body, such as when women go through menopause
- Being over 35, as gum disease age appears mostly in older folks
- Certain major illnesses like HIV/AIDS, diabetes or leukemia.
First Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gingivitis contains the first symptoms of gum disease. How do you know when you have gingivitis? Here is a list of symptoms of a gum infection so you know when to contact a dentist for gingivitis treatment:
- Swollen gums or gums that seem puffier than usual
- Gums that bleed easily, especially when brushing or flossing
- Gums that seem to have shrunk, making the teeth seem longer
- Gums that turn darker in color
- Chronic bad breath (caused by bacteria on the gums)
- Pain or tenderness when doing usual things like eating, drinking or brushing.
Remember, the good news is that your gingivitis cure may be only one dental visit away. Who treats gingivitis? Good dentists can but you may be advised to see a gum specialist. Keep in mind that you need to keep on brushing and flossing your teeth during gingivitis treatment, despite the blood and the pain. It’s important to keep the tartar down as much as possible so you can fix gingivitis and do not get gum disease.
Complete List of Gum Disease Symptoms
Let’s say you’ve ignored how to fix gingivitis and now things have gotten worse. How do you know when you have a gum disease? What dies gum disease feel like? Here is a complete list of gum disease symptoms:
- Receding gums, or gums that seem to be shrinking
- Gums gradually turning color from pink to black
- Black bleeding gums
- Pus of any color, even grey, oozing out between your gums and teeth
- Bad breat