Your dental health plays an important role in your overall health. Studies have found that when you have healthy teeth and gums, your overall quality of life improves, too. That said, some signs of poor dental health, like gum diseases, aren’t always easy to spot.
This is one reason why it’s so important to maintain regular visits with your dentist. They’re skilled in identifying issues that often evade the average eye, and can help catch issues early before they turn into larger problems.
One example of this is gum diseases. Unless you know what to look for or have severe symptoms, you may not realise that anything is wrong with your gums.
Let’s take a closer look at the types of gum diseases and how you can prevent them for better overall health.
A mild case of gum disease, gingivitis is the result of infected gums. Common signs include swollen, tender gums, redness, and irritation. Maybe your gums even bleed when you floss, or maybe you have bad breath despite brushing and flossing your teeth.
Though this type of gum disease is considered mild, it should still be taken seriously. If left untreated, the infection could spread below the gum line and into the bone, which can lead to another form of gum disease ― periodontitis.
Periodontis is considered a moderate to severe type of gum disease. It affects 22.9% of the Australian population, with older individuals experiencing higher rates of periodontitis than younger populations.
What’s more, periodontitis can cause an array of dental problems, such as shifting or wiggly teeth that eventually leads to tooth loss. This is because the bone that holds your teeth in place is deteriorating and can no longer support your teeth.
In addition, periodontitis has been linked to an increased risk of other serious illnesses and diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and pneumonia.
Symptoms of periodontitis include but are not limited to:
- Gums that bleed easily, even with light brushing
- Pain while chewing or biting
- Gums that are bright red or purple in colour
- Gums that look puffy or swollen
- A receeding gum line
- Newly developed spaces in between teeth
- The presence of pus between your gums and teeth
- Bad breath
- Tooth loss
- A noticeable change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Your dentist may notice some of these symptoms of periodontitis during your semi-annual checkup. It’s also a good idea to bring up any symptoms you’re experiencing.
The good news is that both gingivitis and periodontitis can be treated to mitigate their effects.
How to Treat and Prevent Gum Diseases
As with any type of disease or illness, prevention is the single best “treatment” for gum diseases. Preventing gum disease means brushing and flossing regularly, using fluoride toothpaste, and getting a dental checkup dentist twice a year. If you smoke, it’s best to quit altogether, as the chemicals used in cigarettes can affect your gum health.
If it’s too late for prevention, there are things you can do to start improving gum health and potentially reverse your condition. Your dentist can perform treatments like deep cleaning, scaling, root planing, and even recommend medications or surgeries for more severe cases.
Regardless of your specific type and severity of gum diseases, your dentist is the best resource to provide a course of action. Treating gum disease early gives you the best chance of improvement and may help you avoid more costly treatment needs in the future.
To learn more, schedule a consultation with one of our dentists.