Many patients, unfortunately, believe that there is no harm in skipping a dental cleaning unless there is something seriously wrong, like a chipped tooth. However, just because something isn’t visibly wrong, doesn’t mean everything in your oral health is up to par. Even minor concerns such as bad breath or red gums could be symptoms of gum disease.

What Is Gum Disease?

Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a serious infection of the gums that damages their soft tissue and also destroys the bone that anchors your teeth in place. In more extreme cases, periodontitis can even cause your teeth to loosen or to fall out.

Periodontitis is, sadly, far too common. More than 47% of adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease. Luckily, it is also preventable in many cases. Gum disease is usually partially caused by poor oral hygiene. In fact, brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once daily, and visiting your dentist regularly can improve your chances of successful treatment and recovery. Doing these things consistently can greatly reduce your chance of developing this periodontitis in the first place. If you are worried you may have gum disease, learn more about how to identify it.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Healthy gums are firm, pale pink, and “hug” the teeth. When plaque builds up on teeth after sitting too long, it becomes tartar. As the tartar moves toward the gum line, the gums become inflamed, trapping all the bacteria in. If you notice any of the following common signs and symptoms, it is important to visit your dentist.

  • Swollen or puffy gums
  • Receding gums that make teeth look taller
  • New spaces occurring between your teeth
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Bad breath
  • Bright red gums
  • Gums that feel tender
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain while eating
  • Sensitive teeth

What Causes Gum Disease?

Unfortunately, if you do have any of the symptoms above and choose to ignore the problem, you could develop periodontitis. Holes develop between your gums and teeth that fill with plaque, tartar and bacteria. They become deeper and fill with more bacteria as time goes on. If not treated, these deep infections cause a loss of tissue and bone, and ultimately you may lose one or more teeth. Ongoing chronic inflammation can even put a strain on your immune system as a whole.

Treating Gum Disease in Naples, FL

The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more bad bacteria can do. Tartar can’t be removed by brushing and flossing, which is why seeing your dentist regularly is so important. One of our dentists here at Massa Dental Center will evaluate your oral health during your consultation and determine whether you are at risk for gum disease. If you are, they will work with you to develop a treatment plan that will best fit your level of severity.

If you are worried about gum disease or are past due for your regular cleaning, book an appointment with a Massa Dental Center dentist. Give us a call today at (239) 597-7333 to schedule a consultation in our Naples, Florida office.