If you happen to see blood in the sink after you have brushed your teeth, this could be one of the first signs that you have gum disease or gingivitis. When not treated, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontal disease, which travels below the gum line and into the bone.  Periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss, and studies show that periodontal disease can be connected to numerous health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.

If you are concerned about the health of your gums, there are several lines of defense to prevent and treat gum disease. 

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Prevention is the key to ensure that your gums remain healthy and strong so they can support your teeth. Follow these healthy dental habits every day to ensure you are on the right track toward healthy gums.

  • Brush your teeth twice daily
  • Floss every day
  • Use anti-gingivitis mouthwash
  • Visit the dentist twice a year for routine dental cleanings and checkups 

Gum Disease: What to Look For 

There are multiple signs to look for in order to diagnose gum disease. These include: 

  • Bad taste in the mouth or bad breath
  • Red, swollen gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing
  • Gums that are pulling away from the teeth
  • A change in the way the teeth fit together in the mouth or spaces forming between teeth
  • Loose teeth or tooth loss
  • Buildup on teeth

How to Treat Gum Disease

If you suspect that you have gum disease, it is important to consult with your dentist to determine how severe your condition is, and to determine the appropriate treatment.  Most commonly, periodontal disease is treated with a procedure called scaling and root planing, where your hygienist performs a deep cleaning to remove the infection and buildup below the gum line.  

Ensuring that you are incorporating preventative steps in your daily dental routine is the number one defense against gum disease. However, if you think you have signs or symptoms of gum disease or more severe periodontal disease, it is important to see a dentist for a diagnosis and to determine a plan to reverse the disease.