Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What are signs of early-stage gum disease?"
I noticed that my gums have started to bleed when I floss and brush my teeth. I also have a little pain. Am i developing gum disease?
This is a very important question to discuss with your dentist. Gingivitis (gum inflammation) precedes periodontitis (gum disease). Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. You seem to have gingivitis where bacteria in plaque build up causing the gums to become inflamed and to easily bleed during tooth brushing. The bacteria in plaque produces acids and other toxins that can destroy bone and gum tissue that support your teeth. If not properly treated, it will progress to periodontitis which can cause tooth loss. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Some of its signs include (1) gum that bleeds easily during and after tooth brushing or flossing; (2) red, swollen and tender gums; (3) chronic bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth; (4) gums that have pulled away from your teeth creating new spaces between your teeth; (5) teeth that look longer than normal because your gums have receded; and (6) loose teeth, etc. You seem to be at the earliest stage of gum disease where damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissues holding your teeth in place are not yet affected. Please schedule a visit with your dentist soon to evaluate the progression of your oral health and get advice on good oral health that will help keep plaque from building up. The sooner you seek dental care, the better your chances of reversing damage caused by periodontitis.
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