It is important to educate yourself about what proper oral hygiene entails in order to prevent gum disease from starting in the first place. Dental professionals believe that gum disease is preventable, except in the cases where a person has a genetic susceptibility to develop it. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults and therefore it is something that should not be ignored by anyone.
In May 2000 a Surgeon Generals report defined the state of many Americans bad oral health as a Ã¢â‚¬Å“silent epidemicÃ¢â‚¬Â and strongly recommended that a national effort or campaign be put into play in order to help improve upon the oral health of a great majority of American adults.
Gum disease often progresses very slowly and often does not cause any pain or discomfort until it reaches a more advanced and critical stage of development. Some people are completely taken by surprise when on a routine visit to their dentist they are told that they have gum disease. This automatically puts a person at greater risk of inflammation, infection and the loss of teeth.
Many of the signs and symptoms of gum disease are extremely subtle and often seem to almost sneak up on people and catch them unaware. It is important to be able to recognize the warning signs and to take action as soon as possible by scheduling a visit to the dentist. The more signs a person has, the more worrisome the problem is.
The most common signs and symptoms of gum disease are as follows:
1. Gums bleed very easily while the teeth are being brushed or in some cases, afterwards. Some people also experience bleeding gums when they floss their teeth.
2. Gums are red in color as opposed to pinkish and are tender, sore and swollen and may be irritated further by certain foods, beverages or by the process of being brushed.
3. Deep pockets that can easily harbour bacteria develop between the teeth and the gums.
4. When the teeth and gums are pressed pus will appear (pus will have developed in the areas where the pockets are at the base of the teeth).
5. Gums that show signs of recession (in other words, the teeth appear to be pulling away from the gums)
6. Bad breath that has become chronic and/or a bad taste in the mouth that never seems to go away.
7. Individual teeth are becoming looser, are shifting or are moving and separating from other teeth.
8. A person notices that their teeth no longer fit together as they once did and that their bite has been altered.
9. Anyone who has partial dentures might notice that they no longer fit as properly or as well as they once did.
Other less common signs of gum disease include pain and discomfort when chewing food and teeth that become more sensitive to temperatures such as very cold or very hot foods or liquids.
It is important to be aware that a person can have gum disease and not show any signs or symptoms at all. For example it is possible to develop gum disease around a single tooth and not know it. This is especially the case if the tooth is near the back of the mouth. Only a dentist can clearly identify gum disease for what it is.