Recognizing and Treating the Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease is a common problem, affecting approximately half of the adult population in the United States and 70 percent of people over the age of 65. Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease can range from mild to severe. The good news is that gum disease treatment in Westlake, OH, can reverse mild to moderate cases before more serious oral health problems occur.

Common Gum Disease Symptoms

When your gums are healthy, they are firm to the touch and form a secure seal around your teeth. Gum disease causes multiple symptoms, including those listed below.

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Gums appear purple or dark red
  • Gums bleed easily, especially after brushing your teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • New spaces or gaps between teeth
  • Pain when chewing food
  • Pimples or pus on your gum line
  • Recession of gums, which means the tissue pulls away from the teeth
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Teeth do not fit together properly

Poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of gum disease. Bacteria in your mouth create plaque and tartar on your teeth and can travel down into your gums between teeth, causing inflammation. Smoking, having diabetes, taking oral contraceptives, genetics, and certain chronic diseases can also increase the risk of developing gum disease.

Gum Disease Treatment Options

At Walter R. Below DMD, Inc., gum disease treatment in Westlake, OH, typically consists of scaling, root planing, or both. Scaling involves Dr. Below using a handheld dental instrument to scrape bacteria from the roots of your teeth, just below the surface of your gum line. If you have root planing performed, he smoothens the surface of your teeth to prevent a buildup of bacteria.

Brushing and flossing at least twice a day and visiting our dental practice bi-annually are the best ways to keep gum disease at bay.

Close-up portrait of a sad young girl with a painful tooth, a doctor in office chairs, an isolated dentist office background clinic.

3 Everyday Habits That Contribute to Gum Disease  

While there are effective gum disease treatments in Westlake, OH, taking preventative steps is always recommended. Unfortunately, many people have everyday habits that can contribute to their risks of developing or worsening periodontal disease. Take a look at a few everyday habits that you may not know are elevating your risks of issues with gum disease.

1. Smoking or Tobacco Use

Smoking or using smokeless tobacco is one of the worst things you can do for your oral health. Smoking raises the temperature inside the oral cavity, which encourages bacteria to populate. Smokeless tobacco contains sugar and sweeteners that directly feed bacteria that accumulate around the gums.

2. Not Drinking Enough Water

Water is essential for your overall health, but also for the health of your gums. Water flushes away excess bacteria and food particles that can lead to high levels of bacteria. Therefore, if you are not drinking enough water with meals or simply in general, you may be harming your gum health.

3. Skipping Nutrient-Rich Foods

Certain nutrients are exceptionally important for gum health. For example, vitamin C deficiency can actually weaken the soft tissues in your mouth and possibly contribute to gingivitis. If you are not eating foods that offer a good nutrient profile, your gums may not be getting enough of what they need to remain healthy. Likewise, eating a lot of sugar or starch can elevate the levels of harmful bacteria in the mouth that contribute to excess tartar and gum disease.

Discuss Gum Disease Risks with a Westlake Dentist

If you suspect you have gum disease, it is important to work with a qualified Westlake, OH dentist to build a treatment plan to help. Gum disease can be a major threat to your oral health. Reach out to the team at the office of Dr. Walter. R Below to schedule an appointment.