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According to the latest scientific data measuring dental disease globally, gum disease is by far and away the most prevalent form found all over the world. This fact, although well known among dental professionals, catches most patients by surprise. They generally assume that it is tooth decay that would be most common, since that is something that most people take treatment for during some time or the other. One reason why gum disease often progresses is the fact that it is difficult to detect in the initial stages. Unlike tooth decay, which becomes easy to detect visually and also causes pain, gum disease does not cause overt pain in the large majority of the patient. Thus there is the tendency for people to avoid taking treatment or delay it as long as possible.
Here are some of the common signs of gum disease that you should be on the lookout for.
Bleeding From The Gums
The first symptom of gum disease is often bleeding from the gums during brushing or eating, or it may occur even spontaneously. This is a result of the inflammatory process that begins within 24-48 hours of disease causing plaque accumulation. The bleeding itself is just an indicator of the inflammatory process and not an indicator of the type or severity of gum disease. For example, there are some patients that may have a large amount of gingival bleeding due to an aggressive immune response of the body while the actual severity of the disease may not be very much. On the other hand, there are some patients who have little or no bleeding, yet the disease has progressed quite significantly.
All of these variables make bleeding from the gums a poor positive indicator for gum disease. Its absence is a good indication that the gums are healthy, however its presence does not help determine anything concrete about the type and severity of gum disease. As a patient, if you see bleeding from the gums then remember to mention it to your doctor and get a thorough examination of the gums done to be sure.
The social nature of this particular predicament makes patients seek treatment at the earliest. While there can be a number of causes of bad breath (Halitosis), the most common cause by far and away is underlying gum disease. Bad breath is caused by volatile sulfur compounds that certain micro-organisms in our mouth release. These micro-organisms are usually found in extremely small numbers in a healthy oral cavity and so do not have any significant effect. In a periodontally compromised oral cavity however, these micro organisms find conditions favorable and "pockets" around the gums which make an ideal location for them to thrive in.