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WHAT ARE SIGNS OF GUM CANCER & HOW DO I PREVENT GINGIVITIS IN SOUTH AUSTIN?

Posted by Jack Fan Dec 04, 2021

Not unlike being stung by a wasp or catching a cold, even if you get a case of gum disease that’s mild – nobody wants that. Gingivitis is to be taken seriously and treated promptly, but obviously, gum cancer is on an entirely different level of concern.

If your gums are inflamed, it makes sense to wonder what caused it and to figure out exactly what you are dealing with. The best answer is to make an appointment with your dentist so they can diagnose if you have gingivitis in South Austin, but in the meantime keep reading to learn about how you can recognize gum cancer and what you should do regarding the prevention of gum disease.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE GINGIVITIS?

Plaque buildup causes gingivitis, which is a bacterial infection resulting in inflammation of the gums around the base of the teeth. As oral bacteria consume starches and sugars in your mouth, they release plaque acids that accumulate over time.

Without sufficient oral hygiene practices, this thin biofilm of acids hardens on your gums, which irritates them and results in inflammation. A person with gingivitis may notice these symptoms:

  • Teeth that appear longer than they used to
  • Gums that easily bleed
  • Chronic bad breath that won’t go away even after brushing
  • Development of gum pockets, which appear between your teeth and gums
  • Sensitive, swollen, or red gums

With little-to-no symptoms in the early stages, gum disease can be tough to detect at first. That’s a great reason to be sure you stick with routine dental checkups every six months so gingivitis can’t get a foothold in the first place.

WHAT ARE PRELIMINARY SIGNS OF GUM CANCER?

Approximately 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every year, which includes gum cancer, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. The most common sign of gum cancer in South Austin is the development of white or red patches on gum tissue, which is called erythroleukoplakia.

When only white patches are present, they can potentially be benign. Conversely, patches that are only red have a higher probability of malignancy. If you see patches of either color on your gums, definitely follow up with your dentist so they can examine them.

WHAT CAN INCREASE MY RISK OF GUM DISEASE?

While anyone can develop gum disease, certain activities or conditions elevate the chance it happens to you:

  • Smoking: Weakens your immune system and doubles your risk of gum disease.
  • Diabetes: If your blood sugar is not well-controlled, high glucose levels in your saliva encourage the growth of bad bacteria and more plaque on your teeth.
  • Certain drugs: Oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and blood pressure drugs can all encourage the growth of plaque and elevate gum disease risk.
  • Dry mouth: This condition becomes more common with age. Drinking water and chewing sugarless gum can help combat dry mouth.

An appointment for an examination by your dentist is the logical first step if you suspect you have gum disease. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene leading up to your appointment and don’t use tobacco products, as they can make your symptoms worse.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Jack Fan loves having the opportunity to help patients look and feel better. While he was in college, he joined a volunteer organization that hosted many medical outreaches in Mexico, and he saw firsthand how dental services were always in very high demand. He realized it would enable him to make a positive impact, and it was a great fit for his natural talents. Whether you want to get checked for gingivitis or oral cancer in South Austin, Dr. Fan is ready to help. If he detects gingivitis in the early stages, he can offer gum disease therapy via scaling and root planing. You can schedule an exam on his website or call (512) 361-4288.

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