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A 39-year-old member asked:

How to tell if i have gum disease?

8 doctor answers12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Birnbach
Cosmetic Dentistry 49 years experience
Gum disease: If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, that is an indication of gum disease. Other signs are if they are red, swollen, puffy. And receding. Bad breath is another indication. Gum disease increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. See your dentist to have an evaluation and necessary treatment.
Dr. Steven Corben
Dentistry - Cosmetic 41 years experience
Bleeding sore gums.: If your gums are swollen and bleed when you brush, you probably have infected gums. Please call your dentist.
Dr. Arnold Malerman
Orthodontics 54 years experience
Silent: Gum disease is one of those silent diseases that don't manifest symptoms until disease is somewhat advanced. Puffy, bleeding, swollen, sore to the touch gums are often early indicators. One of the many reasons you should see a dentist 2x/year is to help prevent gum disease. Please call your dentist now for an appointment to see if your gums are healthy or not, and what to do about it.
Dr. Jeffrey Bassman
Dentistry 46 years experience
Dentist/home care: Dental supervision and proper home care instruction are imperative to treating gum disease. The severity of the gum disease may dictate how much dental intervention is required.
Dr. Dinh Bui
Dr. Dinh Buianswered
Dentistry 24 years experience
Bleeding gum: Patient can watch for gum symptoms such as bleeding gum, change in color (red, deep red or cyanotic blue-ish purple), change in texture (flat to glossy), change in appearance (sharp pointed interproximal papilla to blunted papilla, change in shape (flat margin to bulbous roll round margin). Symptom related to attachment loss required xray and periodontal probing done by your dentist.
Dr. Duane Keller
46 years experience
Infection: Gum disease is an infection. Bleeding, swelling, redness, bad breath, longer roots, are all signs of an infection. This is a bacterial infection. Treat the infection by placing a medicine into the gum pocket that can kill the bacteria, like the perio protect method. Scaping the teeth leaves all of the bacteria to regrow and the disease comes back.
Dr. John Francis
Periodontics 31 years experience
Dental exam: You may notice a fetid odor or loosening teeth; but the only sure diagnosis is from a periodontal exam and x-rays with your dentist.
Dr. Gary Sandler
Dentistry 55 years experience
Some signs of: Some signs of gum disease are bleeding and\or swollen gums, loose teeth, and bad breath. There are others. The only way to know for sure whether or not you have gum disease, what stage, and what treatment is indicated is to see your dentist for a complete and thorough dental examination. Don't postpone that as things only get worse the longer you wait.

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Last updated Mar 18, 2014
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