In 2012, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study that found almost half of American adults aged 30 or older (approximately 64.7 million people) have some form of gum disease. For adults 65 and older, the percentage of adults with gum disease jumps to over 70 percent. For the reason that gum disease or periodontitis is so endemic, it is important to be aware of the warning signs.
While only a dentist can diagnose gum disease, swollen or bleeding gums, receding gums, gum pockets, tooth sensitivity, losing teeth, and persistent bad breath are all troubling signs.

Before you panic about swollen or bleeding gums, think about what you’ve eaten lately and if you cleaned your teeth over enthusiastically. It is possible that pieces of popcorn irritated your gum tissue or you accidently flossed or brushed too hard. However, if the irritation lasts more than a day or two or it started for no apparent reason, it is important to let your dentist know because these could be warning signs that bacteria is building up.

Receding or inflammatory gums, mobile teeth with gum pocketing are more worrisome. In the case of receding gums, bacteria destroy bone and constant inflammation can lead to a decline in jaw bone health. If you’re losing teeth, the bone tissue is already damaged and proper cleaning can prevent the damage from getting worse. As for gum pockets, a dentist can measure how deep they go. If a measuring tool can go more than 3mm below the gum line that can be a sign that a patient has gum disease.

Persistent bad breath may be a sign that a patient isn’t brushing thoroughly enough and therefore, food is not being removed from the mouth. Leftovers hiding between your teeth and gums can cause bacteria growth, which in turn can cause bad breath as well as damage to teeth and gums.

In the end, plaque causing bacteria can result in gum disease. By looking for the warning signs, you can stop gum disease before it becomes a serious health issue. If you notice changes in your smile or want to make sure you are cleaning thoroughly, schedule an appointment here at Huntingdon Valley Dental Arts with Dr. Zola Makrauer or Dr. Julie Miller for an evaluation. Also, our hygienist is thoroughly trained and can provide you with a multitude of information and tips that can be utilized at home to provide you with a way to better care for your teeth and gums.