5 Warning Signs of Gum Disease

Women showing her healthy gum and straight teeth

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease occurs when gums of the mouth are infected. There are three stages of gum disease, the least severe being gingivitis, which can progress to periodontitis and advanced periodontitis. The gums are extremely important to overall health, as they are responsible for holding the teeth in place and allow you to comfortably chew food.

Advanced gum disease occurs when plaque on the gums hardens and can cause extreme pain in the mouth. Periodontal disease can cause mouth soreness and sensitivity, trouble chewing, and even tooth loss. It is important to watch out for the five warning signs of gum disease:

Bleeding When Flossing or After Brushing Teeth

Brushing your teeth two times per day and flossing once a day is the best defense against gum disease. If it has been a while since you have flossed, you may notice that your gums bleed when flossed or when brushing. This is typically an early warning sign of gum disease such as gingivitis. The bleeding occurs when the gums have a buildup of plaque — due to poor dental hygiene — that make the gums prone to bleeding and sensitivity when flossed. If experiencing bleeding gums, be sure to brush and floss more regularly and to see your dentist for a further examination.

Gums are Red and Swollen

Redness and swelling of the gums are other symptoms of gum disease. Healthy gums should be pink and not puffy or swollen looking. Redness and swelling of the gums may be due to several gum problems. If your gums are looking redder or swollen than usual, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss treatment. If due to gingivitis or periodontitis, the redness and swelling is again a reaction to the hardened plaque on the gums.

Teeth Feel Loose

If your teeth are feeling loose or weak, this could be a sign of advanced gum disease, also known as advanced periodontitis. Pain when chewing, and a feeling of your teeth not being secure in your mouth, is a sign that you need to see a dentist as soon as possible. If it is advanced periodontitis, the next stage will be tooth loss. Tooth loss will require dental implants to restore function.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores may point to a number of dental issues, however, the most common issue is usually gum disease. A mouth sore is an inflamed, painful blister or sore inside the mouth. When these sores are located on the gums, this typically points to an infection or high levels of bacteria on the gums which resulted in a sore. Mouth sores are unsightly and painful, so you will want to see a professional to start treatment.

Persistent Bad Breath

Feel like your breath always smells, even when you have just used mouthwash or brushed your teeth? Persistent bad breath is typically a sign that something else is going on inside your mouth. Gum disease is caused by bacteria due to the built-up plaque on the gums. When bacteria is present in the mouth, it causes persistent bad breath. Bad breath can be extremely embarrassing, but the treatment of the root cause of the issue — gum disease — will be the fastest remedy.

Oral Surgery Services in Lehigh Valley, PA

Gum disease can quickly progress into something much more serious if proper treatment is not provided. At St. Luke’s OMS, we can provide dental implants if your gum disease has led to tooth loss due to advanced periodontitis. Please contact us today if you’re in need of dental implants or for more information on our other oral surgery services. We’ll ensure your smile is healthy and restored!