If you’re like most people, you trudge through the motions of your morning routine while your mind is busy reeling about the day’s agenda. Out of habit, you quickly brush your teeth, floss (maybe), and look forward to moving on to your next task. You many not even notice if you have puffy or bleeding gums, which are tell-tale signs of a trouble-causing disease: gingivitis.
While gingivitis (also called gum disease) is extremely common, affecting over 64.7 million Americans annually, its repercussions should not be taken lightly. Aside from leading to decay or total tooth loss, several studies have linked gum disease to more serious health concerns, such as heart disease, diabetes, anemia, and osteoporosis. In fact, when these diseases are already present in the body, gingivitis can make them worse.
Between routine visits to the dentist, it is important to pay attention to certain changes in your gums that can indicate a serious infection like gingivitis. Here are a few signs to watch for as you brush your teeth each day:
Gum disease, when it has progressed to its more serious state of periodontitis, can lead to receding gums. If your gums pull away from your teeth and make them appear longer than they once did, you likely have this condition. Pain or discomfort from receding gums may not be noticeable, but with daily attentiveness, you should be able to tell if your gums are receding or separating from your teeth.
If your gums bleed while you brush, floss, or eat hard food, you could have gingivitis. Your gums may also appear puffy and red and feel soft to the touch. If you experience these symptoms, be sure to see your dentist right away. Your dentist may advise you to visit more often than the recommended twice a year for a cleaning if your teeth are particularly susceptible to infection.
Dark or discolored gums can occur from smoking, drugs, inflammation, or hyperpigmentation, but they can also result from gum disease. Hardened plaque (called calculus or tartar) can collect beneath the gums and cause a blackened appearance. Laser gum disease treatment can effectively remove the build-up and, therefore, the unsightly dark color. When infection is not the cause of darkened gums, laser depigmentation is the best treatment to restore the gums to a more natural-looking color.
If you have symptoms of gingivitis, or if you would like to schedule a consultation for a cosmetic procedure by Dr. Kevin Sands, please call our dental office in Beverly Hills today at (310) 273-0111. You may also conveniently fill out our online contact form for more information.