Ryan M. Buckwalter, DDS, FICOI, FAGD

1420 Greenbrier Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901


4 Signs That You have Gum Disease

Your gums are an important aspect of your dental health. Their condition is closely connected with your teeth but also your overall dental health. Signs of gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) can indicate serious issues with your teeth, and perhaps even your overall health. If not addressed properly, gum disease can lead to painful infections and teeth loss.

Hillcrest Dental provides numerous general dentistry services aimed at treating and preventing gum disease. Our highly-trained Blue Ridge VA dentist and staff will help you recognize the symptoms and suggest a course of treatment to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy for years to come.

Below, we discuss the four main signs of gum disease and what each could mean regarding your dental health:

Bleeding Gums

Simply put, your gums should not bleed when you floss or brush your teeth. If they do, that means that bacteria has built up beneath your gums, causing them to bleed and spread more harmful bacteria in your mouth.

In addition, symptoms like gum swelling, redness, soreness, and tooth sensitivity, along with bleeding, indicates that your gums are suffering from a mild but soon-to-be severe infection. A dentist will be able to identify the severity of the infection and explain the proper course of action to help maintain and even restore your gums.

Furthermore, gum disease has been linked to serious medical risks such as heart attack or stroke. This is because, as your gums bleed, harmful bacteria enter from your mouth and into your bloodstream. From there, the bacteria can then cause clots, thus increasing the chances of a heart attack or stroke.

Gum Recession

Have you noticed your teeth appearing to be “longer” than they were before? This often happens when another sign of gum disease is present: gum recession.

The gum tissue around your tooth does usually recede as you grow older, but if your dentist notices that it’s happening rather quickly, that means you may have a serious case of gum disease that’s quickly progressing.

To identify if the progress of your gum recession is indicative of gum disease, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

They will measure the outer surface of your tooth to determine how much of your gum tissue has recessed over time. This can then help your dentist decide what treatments to recommend and whether you should have a specialist involved or not.

Tooth Sensitivity

Sensitivity is another common sign of gum disease, and further stems from gum recession. As your gums recede, more of the root surface of your tooth becomes exposed.

This exposure makes the root of your tooth more vulnerable to decay, deterioration, greater sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, and can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Take note of how your teeth feel when you’re consuming hot or cold beverages. If your teeth are becoming unbearably sensitive, that means that your symptoms are worsening. A quick dental check-up can indicate whether this is related to gum disease.

High Blood Sugar

Another significant sign of gum disease is having high blood sugar. A higher blood sugar often means that a person has or is at risk of having type 2 diabetes, which has an interchangeable relationship with gum disease. This means that those with type 2 diabetes also often have a higher risk of having gum disease and vice versa.

As high blood sugar is a sign of gum disease in itself, it’s important to know the symptoms to recognize whether or not you have it. Here are some of the signs of high blood sugar:

  • Headaches
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurred or impaired vision
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased thirst

Noticing any of these signs means you should check with your physician first, and if they find signs of gum disease as well, be sure to check in with your dentist too.

Controlling Gum Disease

If you want to prevent or reduce the progression of gum disease, you have to put your oral hygiene in order first. The main objective is to consistently disturb the plaque and bacteria in your mouth, so that none of it will ever sit too long against your gums and teeth. The best way to do this is by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth as often as you can.

We recommend you do it after each meal, whenever you first return home from work or school, or when you first wake up and before you go to bed. Brushing and flossing are the simplest way to prevent the progression of gum disease. In addition, we recommend that you regularly meet with your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings.

Book an Appointment at Blue Ridge, VA’s Top Dentist!

Taking care of your dental health should always be a priority, as it also affects and signals the condition of your overall health. So, taking care of your teeth means taking care of yourself overall. Hillcrest Dental seeks to provide the personalized dental care that fits your needs. Our expert Blue Ridge VA Dentist, Dr. Buckwalter is highly-experienced in all forms of general and cosmetic dentistry, covering all sorts of treatments that can help improve your smile and hygienic health. Contact us at (434) 973-2224 for more information and make an appointment with Hillcrest Dental today!

  • "I am very pleased with how my appointment went yesterday. Everyone was really friendly. They explained everything to me about the procedure and stayed late to assure I was comfortable with the work I had done. Dr Ryan Buckwalter and his assistants were awesome. I highly recommend them for any dental work. Thank you."

    Donnette M.

  • "I was having toothache pain in my lower jaw. I called the next day to make an appointment and was given an appointment time for the very next day. I saw Dr. Ryan, who is knowledgeable, caring and has great people skills with his patients. I made another appointment to come back and have the work done."

    Denise K.

  • “Dr. Buckwalter and his assistant did a wonderful job with our 8 year old today. While they were busy talking teeth, my 3 year old was enjoying his new lip balm and balloon! Finished up with a treat from Starbucks with our gift card. So glad our kiddos don’t fear the dentist. More like they want to keep stopping in."

    Logan D.

  • “Unbelievable experience with Dr. Ryan Buckwalter. Night and Day difference from my last dental experience with another dentist. I no longer fear the dentist!”

    David S.