If you suspect you have gum disease and are experiencing some of its symptoms such as sore gums, it may help to compare your gums to the pictures of healthy gums and diseased gums below, from gingivitis to advanced periodontitis. Remember that gums in good health are pale pink, firm, and fit snugly around healthy teeth. If your gums look like they’re in the early stages of gum disease, bring it to the attention of your dental professional at your next visit.
What does gingivitis look like? The most common way to identify gingivitis is to look for gum inflammation and bleeding during flossing or brushing. Other symptoms and oral health problems that you should pay attention to are occasional bad breath as well as swollen and red gums.
Early Periodontitis Pictures
During the early stages of periodontitis, symptoms include noticeably receding gums and pockets between gums and teeth. Usually, at this stage harmful bacteria start to destroy bone as the infection spreads further, leading to tooth decay, bone tissue loss, increased swelling, and redness of your gums. Bad breath and bleeding during brushing or flossing are also very common.
As periodontitis progresses, tissue and bone that support teeth are lost, causing loose teeth. It is extremely important to treat it seriously because this is the final and the most dangerous stage of periodontal disease. If left untreated, tooth loss and other serious health issues can arise. Proper treatment can decrease the risk significantly through surgical and non-surgical procedures, prevent tooth loss and restore your smile.
If you have healthy gums, they will look firm and pink. Some signs of unhealthy gums include:
- Redness and swelling
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth
- Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth
There are a few factors that can undermine healthy gums and lead to tooth loss, including tobacco use, malnutrition, poor oral hygiene, and poor immunity due to more severe medical problems. Also, certain medications, including some types of antihistamines, decongestants, and painkillers, can cause dry mouth, which can promote gum disease.
It's important to remember that healthy gums aren’t just important for your oral health. Maintaining healthy gums can also be important for your overall health. Numerous research studies suggest an association between periodontitis and other more serious chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Infact, there are now several studies that suggest an association between advanced gum disease and heart disease or stroke.
If you have mild gum disease (gingivitis), you can regain healthy gums by paying attention to your oral hygiene. Using an anti-gingivitis toothpaste like Crest Gum Detoxify Deep Clean helps reverse early signs of gum damage and gives you clinically proven healthier gums. But serious gum disease, known as periodontitis, requires more sophisticated treatment to restore healthy gums. Your dental professional may use one of these techniques to treat severe gum disease and promote healthy gums:
- Root scaling and planing: Removal of the plaque and tartar on your teeth above and below the gum line.
- Gingivectomy: Removal of diseased gum tissue, and elimination of any pockets between the teeth and gums where bacteria can easily grow.
- Flap surgery: Cleaning the teeth roots and repairing any bone damage.
- Extraction: Removal of loose teeth, or removal of teeth that are badly decayed or damaged beyond repair.
Because a healthy mouth starts at the gums, maintaining an oral care routine focused on gum care is crucial to the overall health of your mouth. When you have healthy gums, your teeth are well-supported by the tissue in your gums and your chances for long-term oral health are significantly increased. If you don’t maintain healthy gums, you are more likely to have gum disease, which can progress to a numer of problems with your teeth and oral health. And as previously mentioned, other long-term, chronic health conditions can be associated with periodontitis, a serious form of gum disease.
To help keep your gums healthy, there are several easy steps you should take on a daily basis. Here is a checklist you need for healthy gums:
- Toothbrush: When selecting a toothbrush for healthy gums, look for a soft-bristle brush that has bristles of varying heights to reduce irritation. This will help the toothbrush stimulate your gums and get into hard-to-reach areas. You can also try brushing with a electric toothbrush equipped with a gum care mode, like the Oral-B iO9.
- Toothpaste: The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Comprehensive all-in-one formulas such as Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste can provide several benefits that help care for your teeth and gums for a healthy mouth. You may also want to consider a toothpaste like Crest Gum Detoxify Deep Clean which is formulated specifically for your gums. It can reach and neutralize the plaque bacteria buildup around the gum line that can cause bleeding gums and helps reverse early gum disease and gingivitis.
- Dental Floss: Flossing may be one of the most important things you can do to help prevent gum problems and maintain healthy gums. There are also types of soft floss including Oral-B Glide Deep Clean Floss and Oral-B Glide Comfort Plus that make flossing easier, so people with sensitive gums can have healthy gums. Another option: interdental devices such as dental picks and flossers can be used to clean between the teeth and promote healthy gums. Oral-B Glide + Scope Outlast Floss Picks are a great option!
- Mouthwash: Using an anti-gingivitis mouthwash as part of your dental care routine can help reduce the bacteria that cause plaque in order to maintain healthy gums and teeth. And mouthwashes may offer you additional benefits like whitening, enamel protection, or cavity protection.
- Gum Stimulator: Available at most drug stores, a gum stimulator can help you keep gums clean and healthy. This simple device features a rubber tip that is used to gently clean and stimulate gums for good circulation and to help prevent gum problems.
- Regular Dental Visits: Regular dental visits can help identify problems early before they become serious. Follow a regular oral care routine of brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day to maintain healthy gums. Some dental professionals may recommend an antibacterial rinse or mouthwash to help preserve healthy gums after you are treated for gum disease.
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