Why Recognizing the Early Signs of Gum Disease Is Important

Gum disease tends to be associated with older adults, but it’s actually a common oral health problem that can, and often does, affect adults as young as 30. According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 47% of American adults age 30 and older have some form of gum disease.

When left untreated, gum disease progresses and can ultimately result in the erosion of supporting bone and connective tissue, increasing your risk of tooth loss. While some people have a higher risk of developing gum disease due to factors like genetics and lifestyle, you can take steps to protect your teeth and gums well into old age.

At Haider Family Dentistry, our dentist Dr. Jeremy Haider and our dental team offer general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry services at our office in Salem, Oregon. Prevention and early detection of gum disease is the best way to protect your oral health and avoid expensive, invasive dental treatments in the future. Do you know the early signs?

Signs of gum disease

The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis. The most common sign of gingivitis is swollen gums and bleeding when you brush and floss your teeth. Other early warning signs of gum disease include:

It’s important to recognize these early signs and make it a priority to see your dentist regularly. As gum disease gets worse, some people may notice changes to their bite pattern and loose teeth. 

Once gum disease progresses beyond gingivitis to periodontitis and advanced periodontitis, it causes irreversible damage to the underlying connective tissue and bone that supports your teeth and gum health. This can lead to serious dental issues, including tooth loss.

Preventing gum disease from advancing

When treated early, gingivitis is reversible and usually doesn’t lead to long term damage to your teeth and gums, provided that you follow a good oral hygiene routine and avoid other risk factors like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and an unhealthy diet.

Going to the dentist for regular dental exams and teeth cleanings is also a key factor in preventing gum disease. During your appointment, Dr. Haider performs a comprehensive dental exam to check for any signs of gum disease. A thorough cleaning removes any traces of plaque and tartar buildup around your gums.

What to do if you’re showing signs of gingivitis

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from gum disease is to be proactive. Brush your teeth after each meal, and floss at least once a day. Schedule an appointment for a dental exam and checkup every six months. 

If it’s been more than six months since your last appointment or if you’ve noticed signs of gum disease like bleeding or swollen gums, contact us today to schedule an appointment for a dental exam. Call or request an appointment online.

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