By default, your gums should be firm, pinkish in color, and must not be bleeding, unless of course you injure them from vigorous brushing or flossing. If your gums are inflamed or if they easily bleed with gentle brushing, you may already have a form of periodontal or gum disease.
About ¾ of Americans over 35 years old suffer from gum disease. The type of disease can range between the less severe gingivitis or the more serious type called periodontitis. About 5-15 percent of the population has been reported to have periodontitis.
What causes gum disease? When dental hygiene is not practiced, bacteria can form plaque and latch on to the teeth located near the gum line. They attach to the nearby gums and cause inflammation resulting in red, swollen, or even bleeding gums.
For those with milder cases of gum disease like gingivitis, there usually is no pain accompanying the inflammation. If addressed early, gum condition can go back to normal in no time. Gingivitis, however, can lead to worse problems if left untreated. This is because the swelling that results from your body’s attempt to attack the bacteria trying to invade your mouth also degrades not just your gums, but even your jaw bone.
As the disease gets worse, your gums recede and leave deep pockets that attract plaque. Long-term gum, bone, and dental tissue infection is known as periodontal disease or periodontitis. This ultimately leads to tooth loss.
Early detection of gum disease helps stop bacterial invasion. Check yourself in the mirror and look for some of the telltale signs:
· Your gums bleed easily while brushing (even if you brushed lightly)
· Your teeth suddenly don’t fit together when biting
· Your teeth become loose
· There is a formation of deep pockets in between gums and teeth
· You have a recurring bad breath or experience bad taste in the mouth
· Your gums are receding or pulling away from your teeth
· Your gums are swollen, tender and red