5 Subtle Signs of Gingivitis: Catch It Before It Progresses
Could gingivitis be affecting your oral health? This common condition affects countless people without them realizing it. Identifying gingivitis early and taking steps to stop its progress is key to ensuring your oral health.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It occurs when bacteria in your mouth builds up in greater numbers. Symptoms are usually mild at this early stage, so you might not notice signs of gingivitis unless you look for them carefully.
Identifying gingivitis early is vital to prevent the further progression of gum disease. Without intervention, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. This more serious stage of gum disease has more severe symptoms and can even cause tooth loss. Prevention is the best answer for anyone looking to avoid gum disease.
Watch out for these five subtle signs that you may be dealing with gingivitis:
1. Bleeding Gums
As gingivitis starts to develop, the bacteria will begin to irritate and inflame your gums. You may notice slight soreness or swelling, but these symptoms are often mild during the early stages of gum disease.
Bleeding gums can occur during brushing and flossing if your gums are weakened by gingivitis. Your gums shouldn’t bleed when you brush or floss, so it is worth reaching out to your dentist if you notice this sign.
2. Bad Breath
If you’re already aware of any signs of gingivitis, then chances are you associate the condition with bad breath. This is one of the most common symptoms and often the only sign many patients with gingivitis really notice. Persistent bad breath is a hallmark of gingivitis.
When the bacteria in your mouth break down bits of left-behind food, they secrete various compounds. These compounds are acidic and cause tooth decay, along with gum irritation. This also creates an unpleasant odor. As bacteria levels grow due to gingivitis, so does the smell.
3. Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity can be the result of a variety of causes, one of which is gum disease. If you notice increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, or to acidic or sugary food and drinks, you may be dealing with gingivitis.
Gingivitis and later stages of gum disease irritate the gums and cause them to pull away from your teeth. This exposes more of the tooth surface close to the roots, where the enamel is thinner. This area is much more sensitive than the normally exposed surfaces of the tooth, and even a small amount of exposure can be noticeable.
4. Gum Discoloration
One of the most subtle signs of gingivitis is gum discoloration. As gingivitis progresses, you may notice a shift in the natural coloration of your gums.
Healthy gums are a pinkish color, and any change from the natural color is cause for concern. As gingivitis inflames the gums, they can take on a darker red color. You might also notice that your gums look puffy or swollen.
5. Receding Gums
Gum recession is one of the most well-known symptoms of gum disease. In later stages, gums eroding and receding from your teeth can seriously affect your smile. While this is typically a symptom of more advanced gum disease, it may be the first sign you notice of any gum issues.
As the gums start to pull away from your teeth, they create small pockets. These pockets can accelerate gum disease even further because they harbor bacteria. If you notice any signs of receding gums, you should seek out treatment before your condition becomes more serious.
How to Stop Gum Disease Progression
Stopping gum disease is all about prevention. If you notice any signs of gingivitis, don’t hesitate to call your dentist. They can evaluate your condition and determine which factors play a role in your gingivitis. You may simply need to change your oral hygiene routine or require treatment, such as deep cleaning, to remove plaque and bacteria.
Keeping up with routine dental exams and teeth cleanings can prevent gum disease from taking hold. Having an appointment every six months lets your dentist identify gum disease and other potential issues in a timely manner, allowing for early treatment. Professional teeth cleaning is also an integral part of managing bacteria levels.
Your Buffalo Dental Clinic for Gum Disease Treatment
At Dental Care Associates of Buffalo, we provide the gentle, effective gum disease prevention and treatment you need to maintain your oral health in Minnesota. Our experienced team can take care of your routine exams, periodontal therapy, and other dental needs at our comfortable Buffalo dental clinic. To schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can provide affordable, stress-free care for the whole family, contact us today.