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How do I know if I have gum disease?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a treatable condition that can turn into a chronic one when not treated in time. Unfortunately, this inflammatory disease affects millions of American adults. In fact, it is the leading cause of tooth loss, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Visiting an experienced and trusted dentist is one of the quickest and most sure ways to determine if you have gum disease. Many times, the symptoms of gum disease are extremely discreet. However, in some cases, patients can easily spot the signs.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of gum disease:

1. Red, swollen gums

Inflammation along the gum line is one of the first signs of gum disease. Patients usually notice this symptom while brushing and flossing as the gums will feel more tender than usual. Red, swollen gums can also be a sign of irritation due to brushing too hard or eating certain foods—be sure to rule those out before diagnosing yourself with gum disease!

2. Bleeding gums

Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing is one of the most noticeable symptoms of gum disease. Anytime a person sees blood in the sink after brushing or on their floss, it’s a good idea to contact a dentist to schedule an appointment. At this point, the disease may be reversible.

3. Persistent bad breath

Bad breath occurs for several reasons. Fortunately, it usually goes away after brushing and flossing. When bad breath persists even after a thorough at-home cleaning, it may indicate a serious oral health problem. Periodontal disease is just one possible explanation—the bacteria in the mouth release toxins that cause irritation and produce a foul odor.

Covering up persistent bad breath with gum and mints is never a good idea or a sufficient treatment. Contact your dentist as soon as possible to schedule a dental cleaning and exam appointment to get to the root cause of the problem.

4. Shrinking gums

Are your gums getting shorter? Does it look like your teeth are getting longer? You aren’t going crazy. The disease-causing bacteria in a mouth affected by gum disease eat away at the gingiva (gum tissue), making it pull away from the teeth and creating pockets where the bacteria accumulate.

As the gums pull away from the teeth and expose the tooth roots, patients may also experience dental sensitivity.

5. Shifting teeth

During advanced periodontitis, the last stage of gum disease, patients may notice that their teeth are moving. Without the support of the gum tissue, and with the disease attacking the bone that holds the teeth in place, teeth become unstable and will begin to drift out of their sockets. Eventually, the teeth will fall out if the patient doesn’t seek treatment.

Most patients notice a difference in the way their teeth fit together when they bite rather than just by looking at their teeth in the mirror. If you suspect that gum disease has shifted your teeth, contact your dentist immediately.

Gum Disease Treatment in Manhattan

Our goal at Modern Dental of Manhattan is to help patients achieve and maintain optimal gum health. when gum disease does attack, we’re prepared to offer gentle and effective treatment.

Don’t wait to visit the dentist until you experience these symptoms—at that point, it may be too late to reverse the gum disease!

Contact our friendly dental team today at (212) 758-1000 to get the help you need to maintain a beautiful, healthy smile.