Watch Out for These Four Signs of Gum Disease

July 6, 2020 Grandville Dental Health Center

watch out for signs of gum disease Grandville MIWhen was the last time you had your teeth cleaned? If it has been six months or more, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Teeth cleanings are the perfect opportunity for our Grandville dentists to look for signs of tooth decay and gum disease.

Maybe you think that as long as you keep an eye on your teeth, you can just come in if you start feeling pain. But preventive dentistry is vital not just for the health of your teeth, but also for the health of your gums. It’s a lot harder to rely on self-diagnosis for your gums, and potentially more costly — at a certain stage, gum disease is permanent.

If you see our dentists regularly, we can check for gum disease as part of your routine oral examination. That way, we can treat it while it’s still reversible.

Here are four signs of gum disease you should watch out for:

  1. Gumline irritation
  2. Discoloration
  3. Swelling
  4. Bleeding

1. Gumline Irritation

Your gums (also called your gingivae) are pink connective tissue that surround your teeth and hold them in place. They end in a scalloped line that follows the shape of your teeth. This line is known as the gumline.

If you’re experiencing irritation along your gumline, you may be suffering from gum disease. The good news is that this is one of the earliest symptoms. Plaque, which is a naturally occurring layer of microbes on your teeth, hardens into tartar if not removed daily by brushing and flossing. Tartar, a hard mixture of plaque and minerals, can irritate your gumline.

The only way to remove tartar is by having your teeth professionally cleaned at the dentist. The best thing you can do if you’re experiencing gumline irritation is to schedule a teeth cleaning as soon as possible. Otherwise, you’ll begin to experience more symptoms of gum disease, also known as gingivitis.

2. Discoloration

Healthy gums are light pink or brown, depending on your natural skin tone. Unhealthy gums, however, become darker and/or redder due to inflammation. They will also likely be more sensitive to temperature changes.

3. Swelling

Your gums should fit tightly around your teeth and feel slightly stippled to the touch. When your gums swell due to gingivitis, they lose their stippling and become more smooth. They also may feel like they’re fitting more loosely around your teeth. 

4. Bleeding

If your gums start bleeding when you’re flossing or brushing your teeth, don’t panic. Although bleeding gums aren’t a good sign, they usually aren’t a sign of a true dental emergency.

Typically, if your gums are bleeding, it means you’re suffering from poor oral hygiene habits. Maybe you’re not flossing enough (or at all). Perhaps you’re brushing too aggressively.

If you have gingivitis, your gums will bleed more frequently because they’re irritated by plaque and tartar. You’ll need to see our dentists so they can remove any buildup of tartar and help you develop a healthy oral hygiene routine.

What Cures Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the last form of gum disease that is reversible. Without treatment, you’ll develop periodontal disease, which is a permanent condition.

To reverse the effects of gingivitis, you’ll need to follow these four simple steps:

  • Get your teeth professionally cleaned as soon as possible
  • Start brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day
  • Start flossing daily
  • Schedule a regular teeth cleaning every six months

Protect Yourself Against Gum Disease

Advanced forms of gum disease are treatable, but ultimately irreversible. Our Grandville, MI, gum disease prevention dentists can help you reverse early forms of gum disease or treat more advanced stages. Call Grandville Dental Health Center at (616) 531-0360, or contact us online to schedule your next appointment.

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