You’ve probably heard of gum disease. Since you were a kid, your parents and other authority figures have harped on the importance of brushing and flossing. It was probably a chore then, but now you understand the cost of cavities and other dental nightmares. Plus, you want your smile to look and feel as wonderful as possible.

Aside from increasing the likelihood that you could lose teeth, gum disease can actually kill you. It increases your chances of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. If you have any of the symptoms below, then you should contact our Anchorage dentists.

1. Tender Gums

Healthy gums shouldn’t feel like anything most of the time. When eating, brushing your teeth, or even touching your gums, you should feel the pressure but not any pain. If your gums hurt in response to any normal daily activity, it’s a sign that they’re unhealthy.

2. “Puffy” Gums

Healthy gums should look tight and flat in appearance, seemingly hugging your teeth. When gums become infected, they swell with additional fluid, including blood, so that the tissue can fight invading bacteria. This creates the “puffy” look. If left in this state for long, they will begin to separate from your teeth.

3. Bloody Gums

It’s plain and simple: healthy gums don’t bleed. Even though it’s hard to admit when your gums aren’t healthy, the fact is that if your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or floss, you have mild to severe infection. If this happens, you will normally notice a metal taste in your mouth.

If you smoke, your gums will have less blood flowing to that area, making bleeding more difficult to detect, even though you’re more likely to have serious gum disease.

4. Food Trapped in Gums

Healthy gums hold tight to your teeth. There is little space between them. This means that you should rarely get food stuck between your teeth and gums. When food like popcorn husks and potato chips regularly get stuck between your teeth and gums, it’s not just painful; it’s a sign that your gums are unhealthy.

5. Receding Gums

Although it’s a common assumption that our body changes over time, gums should not recede with our hairline. If you’ve noticed that your gums are pulling away from your teeth, this could be a sign of a major infection. Your teeth don’t keep growing with age. If your teeth seem to be getting longer, it’s actually because your gums are receding. This can look unhealthy and unnatural, causing smile dissatisfaction.

6. Bad Breath All the Time

Everybody gets bad breath once in a while from the foods that we eat. However, if you have bad breath almost all the time, it’s usually because you have anaerobic bacteria in your mouth somewhere. These bacteria use sulfur instead of oxygen, so they emit smelly compounds. The most common place for them to thrive is in pockets developing around your gums.

7. “Wiggly” Teeth

Common misconceptions often lead us to believe that teeth are planted directly into the jaw bone. Instead, there is a band of ligament that connects the tooth to the jaw. If your gums become infected, this ligament can weaken and eventually detach from the tooth. Because this is a sign of advanced gum disease, if you notice your teeth have become loose, it’s important to seek treatment from Anchorage dentists as soon as possible.

Protect Your Life with the Help of an Anchorage Dentist

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults. It’s also linked to an increased risk of heart disease, dementia, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

The best way to protect yourself from gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene. Make sure you’re brushing twice daily and flossing every day. Most people don’t floss, but it’s essential to prevent gum disease. Flossing helps remove plaque from between the teeth and around the gumline. It doesn’t matter what kind of floss you use. If it helps, use disposable flossers or a water flosser.

Some habits can increase your risk of gum disease. Smoking is very bad for your gums and significantly increases your risks, including your risk of tooth loss. Excessive alcohol consumption can also increase gum disease risk in part because it leads to dehydration.

If you have diabetes, work hard to control your blood sugar. High blood sugar increases your risk of gum disease (and gum disease makes it harder to control your blood sugar).

Also, make your regular appointments with your Anchorage dentist. Professional cleanings remove tartar that shelters dangerous oral bacteria, helping them to thrive and cause gum disease. Your Anchorage dentist can evaluate the state of your gums and recommend changes to your oral hygiene or more frequent professional cleanings if necessary.

Gum disease isn’t only a dental issue. Acting as a gateway to the bloodstream, any infection localized in the mouth can wreak serious havoc on the rest of the body. To save yourself money on healthcare later, schedule a dentist appointment if you have any of these symptoms.

Give us a call at (907) 349-0022 or contact us and come see why everyone is raving about the hygiene team at Excellence In Dentistry in Anchorage, Alaska!