Gum disease occurs when bacteria infect the space between your teeth and gums. It may have few visible symptoms at first. But as it develops, you may notice your gums are red, swollen, and tender. They may bleed. Gums may recede, making your teeth look like they are growing. And your teeth may start to move around more easily. But even when these visible symptoms of gum disease appear, you may not see the disease’s other effects, which can impact your entire body.

Avoiding and treating gum disease is one of the most important things you can do for your oral and overall health. Fortunately, at Advanced Dentistry of Butler, we help many patients with all levels of gum disease to get the condition under control so they can enjoy their smile for life. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bob, please call (724) 282-4436 today.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that gum disease is one of the most prevalent chronic health conditions in the US, affecting nearly half of all American adults, and our risks increase with age. By age 65, about 70% of all adults have gum disease.

Gum disease symptoms may start subtle, but they increase as the disease progresses. Here are some of the more common gum disease symptoms, ranging generally from those associated with minor gum disease to those associated with severe gum disease.

  • Reddened gums
  • Inflamed gums
  • Sensitive gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Food stuck in teeth
  • Tooth looseness or mobility
  • Tooth loss

Some of the first symptoms of gum disease may be hard to recognize. Telling the color difference between healthy and unhealthy gums can be hard if you’re not familiar or if all your gums are unhealthy. People often blame bad breath on more mundane causes.

But by the time your gums are bleeding, you should recognize that there is a problem. There should never be a perceptible amount of blood in your saliva after your normal oral routine that includes brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash. It’s also not normal for your teeth to seem to get longer with age. Our teeth stop growing during adolescence. If teeth seem to get longer as an adult, that’s the result of receding gums.

As teeth start to move around and the space between the teeth and gums expands, more food gets caught in teeth. Eventually, tooth loss is the result of gum disease.

Gum Disease Treatment

The good news is that gum disease treatment is often fairly easy, depending on the level of gum disease when it’s detected. Minor gum disease can be treated just by improving oral hygiene routines or increasing the frequency of regular checkups.

More serious gum disease may require root scaling and planing, a more serious gum disease treatment where we try to remove oral bacteria that has accumulated around your tooth roots and make the area inhospitable for future bacteria.

In some cases, you may need surgery for gum disease, and we will refer you to a periodontist or oral surgeon as appropriate. Also, tooth extraction may be recommended as part of gum disease treatment.

How Gum Disease Impacts Your Overall Health

Gum disease is a chronic infection. The bacteria infecting your mouth have many avenues to travel and spread influence throughout the body. In fact, it’s been shown that people with gum disease are at a higher risk for many health conditions, including:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Pneumonia
  • Autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis
  • Dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer

The associations are strongest for cardiovascular disorders. Since this is the leading cause of death in the US, it’s not surprising that people with gum disease are more likely to die at a younger age.

Benefits of Gum Disease

The other side of the link between gum disease and these many other health conditions is that treating gum disease can provide improvement in many areas of your health. In addition to major impacts like heart disease, treating gum disease can provide surprising benefits such as clearer, brighter complexion, and improved daily energy.

If you are looking for an experienced dentist in the Butler area to treat your gum disease, please call (724) 282-4436 today for an appointment at Advanced Dentistry of Butler.