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How often do you forget to floss? If the answer is “never,” you’re one of only 28% of people who regularly floss their teeth. When you’re rushing out the door in the morning or dozing off before you remember to, flossing (and sometimes brushing) isn’t always at the top of our minds. We get it! But if you’re one of the 32% of people who don’t floss their teeth at all, you’re definitely at high risk for gum disease.

Gum disease occurs when gums become infected and inflamed from improper dental hygiene. Seven out of ten Canadians will develop gum disease in their lifetime due to improper brushing and flossing.

There are generally two types of gum disease: gingivitis, which is the least troublesome and can be solved through improving your oral hygiene routine, and periodontitis, when gingivitis progresses and must be treated. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss, so it’s important to keep your mouth in check!

So, how can you tell if you have gum disease?

Here are six signs you can check for at home right now:

  1. Bad breath: Have you noticed an unusually odorous funk that won’t go away? It may be embarrassing, but asking a friend or family member their honest opinion can help you figure this one out.
  2. Red or swollen gums: This one is pretty self-explanatory. But there may be no pain and only visual signs of gum disease, so it’s an important thing to note.
  3. Tender or bleeding gums: This one is easy to check. Floss your teeth. If they bleed, you probably have gingivitis.
  4. Painful chewing or sensitive teeth: This one is a little more serious and should be examined by your dental professional.
  5. Loose Teeth: Ditto with this one – and time to book an appointment.
  6. Receding gums or longer appearing teeth: Same answer as above.

It’s also important to note that certain people are at greater risk for gum disease. Like smokers, pregnant women, those with diabetes, on certain medications or with compromised immune systems.

If you’re still uncertain, book a cleaning. We’ll tell you what’s going on in there.