Practicing good oral hygiene at home between dentist visits is imperative to having healthy teeth and gums, but it’s also essential to your full health. When it comes to oral care, many people don’t realize just how important oral health is to your overall health. While the early stages of gum disease (when it’s referred to as “gingivitis”) are manageable, untreated gingivitis will evolve into more advanced gum disease that is much more difficult to treat (referred to as “periodontal disease”).
By making twice-early visits to your general dentist in Columbus Circle and by practicing good oral hygiene at home, you should be able to minimize your gum disease symptoms, prevent bad breath, and enjoy a healthier life.
Gum Disease Symptoms
As with many medical and dental problems, the early stages of any disease or condition are usually much easier to treat than the later stages. For this reason, it’s imperative to notice early gum disease symptoms and see your NYC general dentist immediately. Some of the most common gum disease symptoms include:
- Swollen gums
- Puffy gums
- Bright red, dark red, or purple gums
- Tender gums
- Bleeding gums (you may notice pink or red on your toothbrush or in your sink)
- Bleeding while flossing
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus around the gum area
If you notice any of the above symptoms, you must act and schedule an appointment with your general dentist. Early stages of gingivitis will advance into periodontal disease if you ignore the early warning signs.
What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a very serious medical condition that damages the soft tissue around the teeth. Without treatment, periodontitis can destroy the bone that supports your teeth, leading to tooth decay and tooth loss. Some of the more severe symptoms of gum disease include:
- Painful chewing
- New spaces that develop between your teeth (look like black triangles)
- Gums that pull away from your teeth, making your teeth look longer than usual (this is known as gum recession)
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
A Closer Look at Periodontitis
In most cases, the development of periodontitis starts with plaque, a sticky film made up of bacteria. Here is what typically happens in people with gum disease:
- Plaque forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in food combine with bacteria in your mouth. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day removes plaque, but plaque quickly comes back. For this reason, a visit to your general dentist in NYC is imperative to maintaining good oral health.
- The plaque will harden into tartar under your gumline if it stays on your teeth, and tartar is more difficult to remove than plaque. Only a professional dental cleaning can remove tartar. Since plaque and tartar are filled with bacteria, the longer plaque and tartar stay on your teeth, the more damage they do.
- Ongoing gum irritation and swelling can cause periodontitis; advanced periodontitis causes deep pockets to form between your gums and teeth. The pockets get bigger over time as they fill with plaque, tartar, and bacteria. Tissue and bone loss will eventually occur when gum disease is left untreated.
How Gum Disease Affects Overall Health
Your mouth is not the only victim of untreated gum disease. Your body will also suffer from the damage that advanced gum disease causes. Gum disease has been linked to:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
- Lung disease
Gum disease, if left untreated, will begin with mild symptoms such as bad breath, bleeding gums, and tender gums. When gum disease advances, you will form infection pockets in your mouth that will smell bad, be painful, and cause problems with eating. The widespread infection will eventually seep into other areas of the body, like the heart and lungs. The goal is to never let early gum disease advance into periodontal disease.
If your bad breath is not related to gum disease, other causes must be considered. You may be suffering from gastrointestinal issues or something else that will require medical attention.
See a Columbus Circle General Dentist for Bad Breath and Other Symptoms of Gum Disease
If you think you may have gum disease or just need a NYC general dentist for preventative care, please call Appolon Dental Group (212) 557-8668 to schedule an appointment. You may also fill out our online contact form, and one of our dental team members will reach out to answer any questions or to schedule a new patient evaluation.