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How do I know if I have gum disease?

You can have periodontal disease (an infection that affects the tissues and bone that support teeth) without clear symptoms. That's why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Several warning signs can signal a problem. If you notice any of the following, see your dentist:

  • gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • red, swollen, or tender gums
  • gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • bad breath that doesn't go away
  • pus between the teeth and gums
  • loose or separating teeth
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • a change in the fit of partial dentures
You may not know if you have gum disease without an exam and xrays by a dentist. Gum disease can be a silent disease, but loose teeth, swollen gums, and bleeding gums can be signs of gum disease or periodontal disease. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see your dentist. Your dentist will examine your gums, measure the gums, check for swelling and bleeding gums, check the mobility of your teeth, and take xrays that will show any destruction of bone around the teeth. Based on the findings from the exam, a treatment plan can be developed to treat the gum disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.