Gum disease is a progressive disease where bacteria and infection spread below the gum line damaging the soft tissue, roots and bone along the way. Although the symptoms of gum disease can be difficult to identify in the early stages, certain warning signs may be an indication gum disease has already started to develop.
What Gum Disease Can Look Like
Common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bleeding Gums – Swollen gums that bleed during and after brushing or flossing. Bleeding gums are usually among the first signs of infection and can occur during the early stage of gum disease, commonly called gingivitis.
- Swollen Gums – The bacteria irritates the gums and can cause them to redden and feel tender.
- Bad Breath – Although bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by a number of conditions and issues, the persistent presence of bacteria and decay can cause a noticeably bad taste in the mouth and a strong odor.
- Receding Gums – As infection spreads, it destroys the soft gum tissue and enters the bone. At this stage, the disease is referred to as periodontitis, because it has progressed from the gingival tissue of the gum to the periodontal ligaments that attach the tooth to the bone. The tissue and ligaments shrinks away from the teeth, leaving them looking elongated and structurally less stable.
- Loose Teeth – With less supporting tissue and bone surrounding them, teeth can become looser, which can impact biting, chewing and smile aesthetics.
- Mouth Structure – Gum disease can ultimately alter the appearance of the mouth and the bite itself. Loose teeth and receding gums caused by gum disease can also impact the fit of partial dentures and other oral appliances.
Although these warning signs commonly indicate the presence of gum disease, the true cause of any dental or oral issue is always best diagnosed by a professional. Contact our Houston dental office to make an appointment if you have experienced any of these symptoms, or for more information about gum disease and prevention.