When it comes to oral health, many people focus primarily on their teeth. However, your gums also play a crucial role in maintaining overall oral health, and ignoring irritated gums can lead to serious consequences. Here are three of the main reasons why you should never ignore gum irritation and instead take prompt action to address it.
1. It could be a sign of gum disease (or other diseases).
One of the primary reasons not to ignore irritated gums is that they can be an early warning sign of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease is a progressive condition that starts with gum inflammation but, if left untreated, it can lead to more severe complications.
Gum disease typically begins as gingivitis, characterized by redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. Many people ignore these symptoms or mistake them for temporary issues. However, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, a more advanced form of gum disease. At this stage, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets where bacteria can collect and thrive. The infection can then spread to the bone supporting the teeth, causing tooth loss and severe dental problems.
Ignoring irritated gums allows gum disease to progress unchecked, increasing the risk of these more advanced issues. Moreover, recent research has linked gum disease to systemic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory problems. This emphasizes the importance of addressing gum irritation promptly.
2. It may indicate other dental issues.
Gum irritation is not always a standalone problem; it can be a symptom of other dental issues that require attention. For instance, gum irritation may result from poorly fitting dental appliances, such as dentures or braces, or from misaligned teeth. In such cases, the irritation is a signal that something needs adjustment in your oral care routine.
Additionally, gum irritation can be a sign of infection or abscesses in the gums or teeth. These infections can be painful and, if left untreated, can lead to severe dental abscesses or even the spread of infection to other parts of the body. By addressing gum irritation promptly, you can prevent these issues from escalating.
3. It could jeopardize the appearance and function of your smile.
Ignoring gum irritation can have aesthetic and functional consequences for your smile. When gums become inflamed and recede due to gum disease, it can make your teeth appear longer, giving you a “toothy” smile. This is an aesthetic change but it can have a negative impact on your self-confidence.
Additionally, gum recession can expose the tooth’s root, leading to increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. This sensitivity can make eating and drinking uncomfortable and may even limit your choices of food and drink.
Taking action to address gum irritation early on can help preserve the aesthetics of your smile and maintain the functionality of your teeth. Dr. Rouhani and the team at Smile Concepts can recommend treatments to reduce gum inflammation, such as deep cleaning procedures or antibiotics. In more severe cases, we may recommend gum grafting to restore the gumline’s appearance and protect the tooth’s root. Still, even these more intensive measures are appropriate when it comes to preserving your smile and your overall oral health.
The bottom line? Irritated gums should never be ignored. Aside from the discomfort they cause, they can also be a warning sign of other oral health or general health problems, or an indicator of further problems down the road. To maintain a healthy and vibrant smile, it’s essential to prioritize gum health and visit Smile Concepts at the first sign of irritation. We will be happy to help you find the source of your gum irritation and work with you to correct it.