We pay a lot of attention to our teeth on a daily basis. We keep them clean, make sure they’re white, and check for food and plaque. But what about our gums?
Gums are an important part of our oral health, and they can often be overlooked. Even those who floss daily may not be checking closely to ensure that their gums are the proper colour and texture. But gum disease is a common dental problem for adults, and can develop at a slow rate without the pain to let you know that something is wrong.
Healthy gums should appear pink and firm, without bleeding or tenderness. If your gums don’t, there may be a problem. These are the three stages of gum disease:
Gingivitis: When your gums are tender, red and bleed easily (especially if you haven’t flossed in awhile), you may have gingivitis. Proper brushing and regular flossing can help fix this issue.
Periodontitis: This occurs when bacteria in plaque breaks down the area that attached the gum to the tooth. This can cause receding gums and infected pockets. If you notice this problem, it is important to speak to your dental professional about treatment.
Advanced Periodontitis: If periodontitis is left untreated, it can become advanced and cause further oral health problems. The gum pockets become deeper and the bone that holds teeth in place becomes damaged.
Proper oral hygiene can help prevent these problems, but no matter how well you brush and floss, plaque can still build up and cause gum disease. Having your teeth checked and cleaned regularly by your dental professional is of the utmost importance to avoid complications.
But there is more than just gum disease to be wary of, and the colour of your gums can help you to identify these other areas of concern.
If your gums are:
Red with a gray film – this may be bacterial infection. This can be accompanied by pain, swelling, bad breath, fever and a sore throat.
Bright red with small white or yellow sores – this may be a viral infection.
Red with a white film – this may be a fungal infection, such as thrush.
Brown or dark spots – this may be a type of skin cancer, known as bemelanoma.
If any of these problems become apparent, be sure to contact Southeast Dental, your dentist in Markham immediately for diagnosis and treatment. The best defense is prevention, though proper oral health care and regular dental check-ups. And always pay close attention to those gums – they may be trying to tell you something.