As patients age they often find that their dental healths begins to change, but they can’t quite pinpoint how or why. Maintaining dental health is about more than just brushing, flossing, and avoiding cavities—adult patients need to stay diligent about keeping gum tissue healthy as well. Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss among adult patients, so our Saint Louis dentists urge you to keep your eyes open for the signs and symptoms of gum disease.
How can you recognize gum disease in your own life?
The truth is that gum disease often progresses asymptomatically for months or years. Over time, a slight infection of the gum tissue can progress and spread to connective tissues, teeth, and bone.
When evaluating your dental health, keep in mind that gum disease is usually divided into two categories, based on the severity and level of progression of the disease.
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, in which the gum tissue is infected with harmful oral bacteria. Many patients are asymptomatic at this point, but you may have symptoms, in which case look out for…
· Red/irritated gums
· Swollen/tender gums
· Gums that bleed, especially after brushing
· Bad breath/bad taste in the mouth
If left untreated gingivitis will progress into periodontitis—a condition in which not only the gum tissue, but also the connective tissues, teeth, or bone matters are infected with bacteria. If you’re experiencing periodontitis you may notice these symptoms along with common gingivitis symptoms…
· Loose teeth that may shift along the gum line
· Tooth loss
· Bone deterioration
The sooner you seek treatment for gum disease the better your prognosis will be. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, don’t wait to speak to your dentist. Our Saint Louis dental office is here to answer your questions and help you get on the road to wellness.