What are the warning signs of gingivitis? How can you look out for them? These are two questions our patients ask us a lot. A third one would be what should you do when you spot something not quite right?
The obvious answer to that last question is to contact us. Our patients who come in a bit late usually do so because they are suffering, and plenty can go wrong with this form of gum disease.
Let’s take a look at the first two questions and see how you can spot those warning signs before it is too late.
Take a look at your gums. Healthy ones have a nice shade of pink and your teeth fit smoothly into them. When gingivitis is taking hold, it makes the gums swell. They appear to overlap the lower parts of your teeth, almost like your fist pushed into a soft cushion.
The swelling will be particularly evident between your teeth, and that healthy pink will be going toward a very angry looking red.
Dark Red Gums
Speaking of red gums, it can often be the first sign of gingivitis our practitioners spot in a patient. If you are looking at your teeth every day, you may not notice the gums changing color. They will go a dark red over time, which may take you by surprise when the dentist points them out in the mirror.
Take a closer look at your gums when you do your daily oral hygiene to see if they are closer to plums than peaches in color.
You know what is like when a friend or colleague has terrible breath. You try not to recoil, but often it can be too much to endure. One of the causes of persistent bad breath is gingivitis. Regular brushing or using mouthwash may ease the problem but not eliminate it.
If you are getting a bad taste in your mouth, try taking a sample of your breath. If the smell is strong, even after brushing, you could be harboring the beginnings of more significant problems.
A healthy mouth will have pink, even gums with teeth fitting seamlessly into them. The gingiva, the part of your gum which meets the teeth, hold a tooth in place. Early signs of gingivitis taking a grip on your mouth are when the gums begin to recede. They seem almost to roll back, and your teeth will look less secure.
If you see more tooth than gum at the base of your mouth, then you may be experiencing gingivitis.
Sounds like a good name for a punk rock band. In reality, however, having bleeding gums is not a pleasant experience. We all get bleeding gums from time to time, but if you see blood as an almost daily occurrence, then you are having deeper problems. The weaker, swollen gums will bleed easily, just like a toe or finger will when you hurt it.
When brushing or flossing your teeth, take a look at the gums. If they are bleeding, you may need to see a dentist.
In the early stages of gingivitis, your gums may be sore to the touch. When brushing or flossing they will feel tender, and you will find yourself taking it easy on cleaning. Healthy gums are sturdy and do not need a gentle touch from you.
Poor hygiene habits are causing the tenderness and if you ignore it, it will lead to trouble.
Prevention is Better Than the Cure
It may be an old saying, but it is very true in dentistry. If you see any or all of the above warning signs, you will need to act immediately. Do not ignore the warning signs of gingivitis. Often, early intervention such as minor dental treatments and a visit to the hygienist can help reverse the symptoms.
A change to your dental cleaning habits will help keep your gums healthy. The alternative to severe gum disease, infection and losing your teeth, is not a pretty one. Make an appointment with Scott Young DDS today and put your mind at ease.