Gum disease is an exceedingly common oral health problem and is estimated to affect more than half of the U.S. population. Unfortunately, since it is very easy to ignore in the earliest stages of the condition, it is often fairly advanced by the time it is diagnosed which means that irreversible damage to your oral health may have already occurred.

While gum disease may be unpleasant and have significant consequences for your teeth and general health, it can be treated, and even prevented entirely.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is an inflammatory oral condition that is caused by the invasion of bacteria-laden plaque into the soft tissue of the gums. When this happens, the gums become sore and swollen and may start to bleed when you brush your teeth which at this stage, it is often known as gingivitis. Since the symptoms are usually fairly mild, they can be easily overlooked and ignored. However, if treatment isn’t sought soon enough, the condition can progress and become much more severe.

Symptoms of gum disease

There are many symptoms of gum disease that tend to worsen as the condition worsens. Some signs to look out for include:

  • Red, swollen and tender gums

  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, floss or eat particularly hard food

  • Teeth that look elongated as a result of gum tissue receding

  • Pus between your gums and teeth

  • Persistently bad breath

  • Sores in your mouth

  • Teeth that seem loose

  • A change in the way that your teeth come together or in the way that your partial denture fits

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist so that your teeth and gum health can be professionally assessed.