Most people care about the appearance and health of their teeth. From a young age, we are taught to brush twice a day, floss regularly and go to the dentist for scheduled checkups. As a result, most adults have healthy, attractive teeth as well as a beautiful smile. What most people don’t realize is that your teeth aren’t the only thing in your mouth that needs attention. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, almost 65 million adults over the age of 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease or periodontitis.
Signs for concern
Unfortunately, if left untreated, gum disease can have severe consequences including tooth loss and jaw damage. Here are six warning signs you might have gum disease:
1) Red, swollen and painful gums
2) Bleeding while flossing or eating food
3) Gums that are receding or moving away from the teeth
4) Pus between your gums and teeth
5) Persistent bad breath
6) Loose or separating teeth
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to display any of the symptoms above to have or be at risk for gum disease. You may be at a higher risk of gum disease if you are included in either of the following:
1) You are over the age of 45. Men and women over 40 have the highest risk of gum disease, where over 70% of people 65 or older have periodontitis.
2) Tobacco use, commonly known as a risk factor for the health of your teeth, is also shown to be one of the most significant factors for periodontal disease
3) Some medications, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants or certain heart medications, can affect your oral health. Along with informing your doctor of any and all medications you may be taking, make sure to inform your dentist so that he or she may help keep you safe from tooth or gum disease
4) Clenching or grinding of teeth can damage the supporting structures of your teeth including the gums.
Remember, the health of your smile is not just about your teeth. With gum disease affecting more and more Americans every single day, it is up to you to take the right steps to preserve the health of your gums. Talk to your dentist or periodontist about your complete, oral health today.