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5 Signs You Have Gum Disease & How to Treat It

OK. You’re not a doctor, or a dentist. But you’re not blind either. There are obvious signs of gum disease. And if you have them, it’s time to stop in our Cincinnati dental office. (Oh, and if we haven’t seen you in the last 6 months, stop in anyway. We miss you and regular checkups are necessary for oral health!)

What Exactly is Gum Disease?

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is a chronic condition with varying degrees of severity in individuals. The bad news is it tends to get worse over time. The good news is the earlier it’s treated, the better your prognosis. Severe cases, however, can result in tooth loss.

Bleeding Gums

Yes, Bleeding Gums Murphy in the popular animated series The Simpsons had gum disease (and a bad case of the blues). Gums shouldn’t bleed when you brush or floss. If you haven’t flossed for a while, they will bleed in the beginning, but this should go away with regular flossing. But if your gums continue to bleed, it’s a sign they’re infected. You may also experience gum swelling, red gums, or sore gums if you have gum disease.

But if your gums bleed or hurt when you floss, don’t give up. If you don’t floss, the plaque that causes gingivitis destroys the tissues that attach your gums to your teeth. Plaque has bacteria that inflames gums and causes further gum disease.

Smaller Gums

Do your teeth look longer than they used to? No, they’re not growing if you’re over the age of 12. Your gums are shrinking, or as your Cincinnati dentist will say, receding. As the bones in your jawline start to break down, the gums separate from the tooth which creates a pocket.

Bad Breath

Your mouth is a thriving petri dish of bacteria. Sometimes it stinks, especially in the morning. But regular bad breath throughout the day can be a sign of gingivitis. Your breath really shouldn’t stink too bad after you’ve brushed. If it does, you may want to have your gums checked out,

Your Teeth Hurt

Receding gums can cause tooth sensitivity because the root surface of the tooth is exposed. This also makes the tooth more susceptible to decay. You may notice pain while drinking hot or cold beverages. If so, it’s time to see a Cincinnati dentist.

Shifting Teeth

If you’ve noticed your teeth have shifted or moved, or your teeth wiggle, this is a sign of serious gum disease. The gum disease has affected the bone that holds the tooth in place so it’s no longer a firm foundation.


Your dentist will come up with a plan to reduce the infection. They may even refer you to a periodontist who specializes in periodontal disease.

The first step is a serious deep cleaning. This will go deep into the gum line, unlike a regular cleaning, through a process called scaling. Tartar is meticulously scraped off both above and below the gums. Sometimes root planing is necessary to smooth out the rough surfaces of the root so it can reattach to the tooth.

Your dentist may prescribe special antibiotic gels, toothpastes, and mouthwashes. He or she may recommend gum graft surgery to restore tissue to the gums.

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