Gum disease is something that most people will experience at some point in their lives. But because the symptoms of gum disease are so subtle and painless, most people just shrug it off. If gum disease is left untreated, the consequences could be severe. Gum disease has been linked to a host of general medical problems, including heart disease, endocarditis, lung problems, colorectal cancer, diabetes, and kidney, pancreatic and blood cancers in men.
According to the American Association of Periodontology, you may have gum disease if:
- Your gums are red, swollen, and sore to the touch.
- Your gums bleed when you eat, brush or floss.
- You see pus or other signs of infection around the gums and teeth.
- Your gums look as if they are "pulling away" from the teeth.
- You frequently have bad breath or notice a bad taste in your mouth.
- Your teeth are loose or feel as if they are moving away from the other teeth.
A great oral hygiene routine and regular dental visits are the absolute best way to take a preventative measure against gum disease. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush that fits your mouth comfortably, so it reaches every tooth surface adequately. Plaque begins to re-form within 24 hours after brushing and flossing, so daily care is essential. Be sure to floss or water floss every day to ensure your gums are healthy.
With good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups, you can keep your teeth for a lifetime and avoid many significant health problems.