Gum Disease Signs in Adults

Having a difficult time getting that minty fresh breath to last longer than the two minutes it takes you to brush your teeth? Persistent mouth odor points to an increased buildup of plaque on the gums and teeth. Unfortunately, improving your oral hygiene routine alone won’t stop the odor. The fastest remedy is the treatment of the root cause ― gum disease. Here are 5 other early warning signs that you don’t want to ignore.

1. Red or Swollen Gums

Healthy gums are pink and firm, not bright red and swollen. Gums only take on the latter properties when the bacteria that causes gum disease triggers your immune system response, releasing antibodies to attack the harmful plaque. This irritates the gums and causes swelling, a darker, persistent redness, and a sensitivity to touch that doesn’t lessen with time. If the soreness is distracting or too uncomfortable, a warm saltwater rinse can help soothe some of the irritation. Red or swollen gums that only last a few days may just be a reaction or hormonal change. But if you notice other symptoms as well, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your dentist so that they can formally address the issue.

2. Bleeding Gums

It’s not uncommon for people to notice a little “pink in the sink” and shrug it off as brushing too hard. But bleeding gum tissue is not normal; it’s another early warning sign of gum disease. You’d have to brush quite hard to damage healthy tissue. Gums weakened by infection, however, bleed easily. Remedies like an antibacterial mouthwash may help reduce the bleeding for a while, but it won’t make it go away altogether. Your dentist can determine if your tissue is inflamed from gingivitis, which is the early, reversible stage of gum disease, or more advanced periodontitis.

3. Receding Gums

Most people unconsciously look at their teeth before brushing. If you notice your teeth appear longer or you start to see darker areas along the bottoms of your teeth, it’s likely gum recession, which could be an indicator of gum disease. Gum recession that is caused by periodontitis can allow teeth to shift, changing your bite. The best way to treat it is with professional dental intervention. Talk to Dr. Harrison to find out which options are best for your unique smile.

4. Sensitive Teeth

With receding gums often comes tooth sensitivity. Gum recession not only leads to a loss of supporting ligaments but also exposes the tooth roots that lead directly to the nerve of the tooth, which are more sensitive to temperature and pressure changes in the mouth. That’s why you may find yourself wincing when eating or drinking something cold, brushing and flossing, or when consuming hot or acidic foods. You may find that using toothpaste specifically made for sensitive teeth helps relieve some of your discomfort, but this doesn’t work for everyone—especially if it’s a symptom of gum disease. While gum tissue can’t grow back, you can talk to your dentist about the possibility of gum tissue grafting once any gum disease is treated and your oral health is restored.

5. Tooth Loss

Although losing baby teeth is completely normal, losing adult teeth is not. Permanent teeth falling out on their own is a sign of severe periodontitis. Bacteria and chronic infection have weakened the tooth ligaments, causing the teeth to lose their supporting structures and become loose in the gum tissue. However, though this is a late and alarming sign of periodontitis, all is not lost. Dr. Harrison can work with you to develop a treatment plan that stops the bacteria, replaces any missing teeth, and restores your oral health.

If you still have questions about gum disease and its warning signs, please give us a call or schedule an appointment today. We’re happy to help in any way that we can!