Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease, like many oral health problems, often starts subtly. By the time you notice symptoms or realize that they are symptoms of gum disease, your condition might be advanced, requiring more serious treatment.

Here are the symptoms of gum disease, arranged generally from early minor symptoms too late, more serious ones:

  • Red gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Food getting stuck between teeth and gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Shifting teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Lost teeth

It’s important to know that bleeding gums are not normal. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, it’s a sign that you may have gum disease and need treatment.

Gum Disease Treatment

The type of gum disease treatment you need depends on the severity of your condition.

For minor gum disease, you might be able to treat it simply by changing your home hygiene routine. Better brushing, more regular brushing, switching to an electric toothbrush, and flossing more regularly can all effectively reverse the course of gum disease in its early stages.

For more serious gum disease, we might recommend scaling and root planning. This treatment is like a more involved form of your regular professional cleaning. We remove dental tartar at or below the gum line. Then we remove some of the infected tooth material on the surface of your teeth. This makes it harder for bacteria to colonize your tooth roots and makes it easier for your gums to heal.

For the most extreme cases of gum disease, we may recommend extraction of compromised teeth, or we may refer you to a periodontist for surgery.

Health Consequences of Gum Disease

Every day we get a clearer picture of the links between oral and overall health. Research shows that gum disease is one of the most serious conditions in terms of leading to other serious health conditions. People with gum disease have a higher risk of:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Dementia
  • Pneumonia
  • Autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cancer

Diabetes and gum disease have a reciprocal relationship: each makes the other worse. So it’s important to manage your gum disease along with your diabetes.
Gum disease can have poor cardiovascular consequences. First, oral bacteria can infect your heart, leading to serious complications, even heart failure. In addition, oral bacteria can colonize the walls of your arteries, becoming a major component of arterial plaque, leading to hardened arteries and elevated risk of stroke.

New research strongly links toxins from gum disease bacteria to the development of dementia. Inhaling oral bacteria can infect your lungs, increasing the likelihood that you develop pneumonia.

Untreated gum disease becomes a chronic infection that is bad for your immune system. Systemic inflammation has been linked to a host of problems, but even more serious is the way gum disease bacteria hijack your immune system. Chemicals released by oral bacteria can confuse your immune system, making it attack your own body, as in rheumatoid arthritis when your immune system attacks your joints. The chemical disguises oral bacteria used to hide from your immune system and can also conceal cancer cells. This makes it harder for your body to detect and eliminate small tumors before they grow out of control.

Treating gum disease can eliminate or reduce the risks of these related conditions.

Treat Gum Disease

If you have or suspect gum disease, it’s important to stop this infection before it leads to tooth loss or other serious health complications. Please call (586) 977-8413 today for an appointment at Skowronski Family Dentistry in Sterling Heights, MI.