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Connecticut State Dental Association

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Connecticut State Dental Association: Signs of Gum Disease and How to Avoid it

A major cause of tooth loss in adults is gum disease, an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. Many people with gum disease may not realize they have it because it is often painless. The Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) is reminding Connecticut residents of gum disease symptoms and preventative measures to help avoid it.

September 8, 2014 -- A major cause of tooth loss in adults is gum disease, an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. Many people with gum disease may not realize they have it because it is often painless. The Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) is reminding Connecticut residents of gum disease symptoms and preventative measures to help avoid it.

There are various stages of gum disease. The early stage is called gingivitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include red gums that are swollen and bleed easily. Gingivitis is reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional dental cleaning, and daily brushing and flossing. The sooner it is diagnosed and treated by a dental professional, the better.

If gingivitis is left untreated, it can develop into a more severe type of gum disease, which can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth, causing teeth to feel loose. These symptoms usually occur over longer periods of time, but there can be periods of rapid progression.

“Too often, people overlook the importance of healthy gums,” says Dr. Jeffrey Berkley, President of the CSDA. “A twice-daily routine of brushing and flossing, combined with a balanced diet, can help to keep teeth clean of the plaque that builds up on teeth and the gum line which contribute to gum disease.” 

Factors that can contribute to gum disease:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Genetics
  • Crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Diabetes 
  • Medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives

Symptoms of gum disease:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures

It is important to hold oral health in the same regard as overall health. Some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions such as diabetes or stroke. Research showing the relationship between systemic diseases and periodontal diseases is ongoing. 

The CSDA reminds the public that it is possible to have gum disease without symptoms or warning signs, which is why regular dental checkups are necessary to maintain good oral health. Methods to avoid gum disease include brushing twice daily, flossing and using interdental cleaner daily, as well as keeping up with regular dentist visits.
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