what-gum-disease-looks-likeGum disease isn’t the most common dental health issue, but it is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States. What begins as gingivitis (inflammation in the gums) can mature into full blown gum disease without timely treatment. Since the signs aren’t always obvious, many patients can develop severe gum disease by the time they finally visit the dentist. Keeping a strict schedule of checkup and cleaning appointments with your dentist will help you avoid this, and knowing what gum disease looks like will further improve your chances of catching it early.

The Warning Signs

Gingivitis develops when plaque and tartar accumulate underneath your gums, settling on your teeth roots. The best way to protect your smile from gum disease is to prevent it, but if gingivitis develops, then these signs can warn you to visit your dentist as soon as possible:

  • Red, swollen, and/or darkened areas of your gums
  • Occasional bleeding in your gums, especially when you brush and floss
  • Deepening periodontal pockets
  • Receding gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth

The After-Effects

The warning signs of gingivitis are only the tip of the iceberg to the damage that gum disease can cause when allowed to progress. Inflammation can continue past your gum tissues and affect your jawbone, eroding the supportive structures that keep your teeth strong and firmly in place. In severe cases, gum disease can lead to tooth loss or the need for tooth extraction, and left unchecked, the damage will continue. The longer inflammation continues, the greater a risk gum disease can be to your overall health, as well, increasing your chances of chronic inflammatory issues, such as heart disease.

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