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Periodontists specialize in treating periodontal disease (gum disease) and restoring the health and beauty of your smile! If you are unsure if you should see a periodontist, we have a handy checklist for assessing your gum health at home.

Here are four signs that you should see a periodontist for a comprehensive gum evaluation:

1. Your Gums Bleed

If you see bleeding when flossing or brushing, it could be an early sign that your gum health is deteriorating. You may have heard the terms "bleeding gums" and "gingivitis" used together. While bleeding gums are a sign of early periodontal disease (gingivitis), it is critical to determine the reason. Call your doctor if you have bleeding gums following these scenarios:

  • If you have not been flossing consistently and your gums continue to bleed after 7 days of flossing,

  • If you have not been brushing your teeth regularly and your gums continue to bleed after 7 days of flossing.

Why do your gums bleed when you don't brush or floss for a while? You're removing bacterial accumulation from your gums, both underneath and on top, and plaque is painful to the gums.

2. Your Gums Are Swollen And Sensitive

Gums that are sensitive, swollen, or red most likely have an infection. When germs irritate the delicate tissue of your gums, your body widens the blood vessels in that area and sends in red blood cells to combat the infection, resulting in swollen, red gums. It's a warning sign of gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and other problems for your general health.

3. Your Gums Are Receding

If your teeth appear to be growing longer, you may be experiencing one of the early symptoms of periodontal disease. Bacteria in your gum pockets can harm the gum and bone tissue around your tooth, causing your gums to move away from your teeth and expose your tooth roots. If it hurts to eat cold or hot foods and beverages, you may have periodontal disease. Gum disease exposes the root of your teeth, making them vulnerable.

4. You Have Persistent Bad Breath

Ongoing poor breath and bad taste in your mouth indicate that bacteria are present in your mouth, particularly in the gums. If you don't brush or floss, food particles will get lodged between your teeth and gums. While saliva does an excellent job of breaking down food particles in your mouth for digestion, brushing and flossing will completely remove any stuck material. If not, plaque will form within roughly 12 hours, causing an unpleasant smell and damage to your teeth and gums.

What Causes Gum Disease?

When plaque is not removed thoroughly through frequent brushing and flossing, it hardens and becomes tartar or calculus, which is more difficult to remove and serves as a breeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria in plaque and tartar produce toxins that irritate the gums, resulting in inflammation and the early stages of gum disease (known as gingivitis).

If left untreated, gingivitis can proceed to periodontitis, which is when the infection extends under the gumline, causing the gums to peel away from the teeth and resulting in bone and tissue loss.

Several variables influence the development and progression of gum disease, including:

  • Poor dental hygiene;

  • Tobacco use;

  • Genetic predisposition;

  • Hormonal changes;

  • Certain drugs;

  • Systemic disorders, such as diabetes;

  • Weakened immune system.

    How to Prevent Gum Disease?

First and foremost, it is critical to have a consistent oral hygiene regimen. Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft bristles toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Make sure to clean the gumline and all surfaces of your teeth. Remember to floss every day to remove plaque and debris from between your teeth. Consider introducing an antimicrobial mouthwash into your daily routine to help minimize bacteria.