Advanced gum disease is more than just a hassle. It can cause painful chewing, tooth loss, and a range of issues that extend beyond the mouth. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and even birth defects in offspring. Thus, if you are noticing the early signs of gum disease, which include swollen gums and bleeding after brushing, you'll want to make sure you act quickly and tackle the condition before it has the chance to get any worse. Here's how:
Improve your dental hygiene routine.
Sure, you know you should be brushing twice a day and flossing daily, but do you really follow these guidelines? If you're developing early signs of gum disease, it's time to start. Set a reminder in your phone so you never forget to brush your teeth. Pack floss in your purse or wallet so you can use it on-the-go. And when you do brush and floss, do your very best. Take your time, ensuring you get every tooth. The plaque that builds up on your teeth harbors the bacteria that cause gum disease, and removing it with thorough brushing and flossing will help nip the problem in the bud.
Start using mouthwash.
If you're not already using an antiseptic mouthwash, now is the time to start. It will help kill more of the bacteria that are causing gum disease. Look for one that carries the ADA seal of approval, and follow the instructions on the package for best results. Use it twice a day – after each brushing session – to start with. Once your gum disease is under control, you can use your mouthwash just once a day if you prefer.
See your dentist.
It's a good idea to make an appointment with your dentist (like those at Michael C. Cordora DDS, PLLC and other offices) when you start noticing signs of gum disease. Employ the tactics above while awaiting your appointment. If the gum disease is still pronounced when your appointment arrives, your dentist may recommend a more aggressive treatment, such as an antibiotic gel or a dental scaling procedure, which is essentially a deep cleaning tactic that removes plaque from below the gum line. Even if your symptoms have improved by the time you reach the dentist, he or she can make sure your gum disease did not have any lasting effects on your oral health and give you additional tips for avoiding gum disease in the future.
Even though gum disease is common, it should not be taken lightly. Follow the advice above at the first sign of gum soreness, redness, or bleeding.