How can I tell if I have gingivitis or gum disease?

Illustration depicting a sign with a Gum disease concept.

Multiple symptoms provide clues to your dental condition. It is most often that a combination of these problems should raise the awareness flag that you may be dealing with the onset of gum disease. Your dentist will educate you on what to look for when your dental health may be at risk including:

  • Bleeding gums: Sometimes gums may bleed if you are using a hard bristle tooth brush and too much pressure while brushing. The simple answer is to use a soft tooth brush and less exertion. An electronic tooth brush is often recommended as it does a very thorough job and since most come with a timer, the patient is encouraged to brush the recommended two minutes every time. If gum tissue is bleeding without provocation, you may be experiencing one symptom of gingivitis.
  • Gum tissue appearance: If gums are red or swollen, this is not normal. Healthy gum tissue is firm and pink.
  • Bad breath: Strong or aromatic foods and beverages can cause bad breath; however, if bad breath is chronic and you always seem to emanate a sour smell, this is a sign of some type of infection.
  • Receding gum tissue: While some gum recession occurs as we age, if gums appear to be pulling away from teeth, this represents a serious condition.
  • Loose teeth: A trip to the dentist is needed right away. Loose teeth signal the possibility of bone loss which is a sure sign of periodontitis or gum disease. Immediate treatment is needed; hopefully it is not too late to save the affected teeth.

Many patients believe all teeth must be involved with gum disease. It is possible to experience problems with one area, one arch, or the majority of your teeth. Self-diagnosing is never a good idea. If you suspect a problem, trust your instincts and see your dentist.

Even patients who diligently brush and floss daily and keep regular visits to the dentist are not exempt from the possibility of experiencing gum disease. However, patients that keep to a consistent schedule with their dental provider are less likely to experience serious problems that require long term care to correct.

Once gum disease is diagnosed, your dentist may recommend an anti-bacterial rinse to add to your daily oral regimen to help with maintaining control of gum disease in the future.

If it’s time to schedule your next appointment, contact Anderson Dentistry today.