Posted on: 14 October 2016Share
Gum disease is sometimes called a silent disease. That means that the symptoms are easily missed, ignored, or dismissed as something else, so the chance for an early diagnosis is missed. This can lead to complications and require more complex and expensive treatments. Take a look at some warning signs of gum disease so that you know what to look for and can seek dental care right away.
Have you noticed that your teeth are more sensitive than usual? You may feel pain near your gum line when you're chewing or brushing, or you may notice that you're especially sensitive to cold or heat.
If you're feeling pain or discomfort when brushing or chewing, it could be that your gums are swollen. Gum disease starts with inflammation, and inflamed gums are often swollen and sensitive to the touch. On the other hand, if you're noticing sensitivity to heat or cold, it could be that your gums have started to thin and recede, pulling away from your teeth. This exposes the root of the tooth, which can be very sensitive to temperature changes.
Bleeding is never a good sign. It's a common misconception that a little bit of blood when brushing your teeth is nothing to worry about. It's easy to believe that you may have just brushed a bit too roughly. But the truth is that healthy gums are unlikely to bleed from normal brushing.
The reason that so many people believe that a little blood on the toothbrush is normal is probably because so many Americans have gum disease, whether or not they know it. Research indicates that more than 47% of adults suffer from some level of gum disease. Just remember that healthy gums don't bleed – blood on your toothbrush is a sign that you need to see a dentist as soon as you can.
Other Health Problems
Gum disease can be a warning sign for certain health problems, but only if you know that you have gum disease. Sometimes, you may see signs of the other health problems first. For example, if you have diabetes, gum disease can affect your blood sugar, making it difficult to control. If you notice that you're having a harder time than usual keeping your blood sugar levels managed, you may want to take a close look at your gums.
Another sign to look for is elevated blood pressure. Researchers aren't sure whether gum disease causes heart disease or vice versa, but the two do seem to be linked. In one 20-year study, about a third of gum disease patients eventually developed high blood pressure. If you have gum disease, getting it treated could be the key to regaining better health – research shows that patients who have been treated for gum disease have lower health care costs and fewer hospitalizations.
If you suspect that you may have gum disease, don't risk waiting. Make an appointment with your dentist right away for a checkup.