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Posted on: March 23, 2021
Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease
Gum Disease: What to Know
You do your best to avoid getting cavities and tooth decay, so you should also do your best to pay attention to things that might impact your gum health. Often overlooked, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults! With this dangerous result, it’s best to avoid getting gum disease in the first place. So, how do you avid gum disease? Learn everything you can about the disease. Keep reading for more information on how to prevent gum disease.
Gum Disease and Your Health
Gum disease in its earliest stages, may be referred to as gingivitis and as periodontal disease when it has progressed to the final stages. In all cases, however, these terms refer to a dental condition that stems from an infection of the gums that attacks the structural integrity of the ligaments, tissues and bones of the mouth and jaw.
Periodontal disease is caused by the same bacteria responsible for creating plaque, a sticky film that attaches to the gums and teeth and that can cause cavities if not removed promptly. Poor dental hygiene habits can allow plaque to cause inflammation and irritation of gum tissue. This initial stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. The effects of gingivitis can often be reversed if treatment for this dental condition begins immediately.
Later stages of gum disease, however, may not respond as well to treatment. In these cases, slowing the progress of periodontitis may be the best outcome for patients. Untreated gum disease can result in the loss of teeth and in the breakdown of bone structures in the jaw. This can have a significant impact on your appearance, your dental options and your overall state of health.
While it can be scary to think about the effects of gum disease, this is a fairly common occurrence, with over 75 percent of American adults experiencing some form of gum disease in their lifetimes. It’s not just adults either, over 65 percent of teenagers will have some form of gum disease as well! Just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s very well known or easy to spot. In fact, only 15 percent of people that have gum disease even know they have it.
However, it’s not all bad news! This disease can be easily prevented with a robust and proper dental healthcare routine that includes regular trips to the dentist for cleanings and proper at-home care.
What Should I Look for if I Suspect Gum Disease?
Some of the most common symptoms of gum disease in patients include the following:
- Bleeding gums are one of the telltale signs of gum disease in patients. Bleeding in these areas can occur at any time. It is usually more common, however, after brushing or flossing your teeth.
- A feeling of instability or loosening of your teeth is also a sign that you may have issues associated with periodontitis. This should be checked immediately to make sure that your condition is treated as promptly as possible.
- Swelling or redness around the gumline is another sign of periodontal disease. It may present as pockets of pus under the gums or increased sensitivity to a variety of triggers.
- Unexplained gaps between teeth are a common warning sign of gum disease.
- Bad breath is a common symptom reported by our patients. Unpleasant or unfamiliar tastes in your mouth may also be a sign that your gums are affected by periodontitis.
Seeking care quickly if you suspect you have gum disease can often help to stop the progress of gum disease in its tracks and provide added protection for your gums, teeth and overall state of dental health.
What Are the Causes of Periodontal Disease?
Some of the most common reasons for patients to develop gum disease include the following activities and conditions:
- Failing to brush and floss often enough or thoroughly enough is a real risk factor for gum disease. Periodontitis is caused by plaque, which is usually removed during brushing and flossing. Regular teeth cleaning appointments can also provide added help in managing this dental condition.
- Medical conditions that affect the immune system are also a contributing cause for periodontitis. Some medications prescribed to treat angina or seizure disorders have been implicated in causing dry mouth, which prevents the saliva from rinsing away the bacteria that cause the disease.
- Smoking or chewing tobacco is unhealthy for your body and for your teeth. Tobacco use has been linked to damage to gum tissue, which could make it easier for bacteria to attack the gums in periodontitis.
- Significant shifts in the hormonal levels of your body can sometimes trigger gum disease. These shifts may occur during adolescence, menopause or pregnancy.
Variants of Periodontitis
What happens when gingivitis is not treated? It turns into a serious problem called periodontitis. This means the gums pull away from the teeth. Pockets are created that give bacteria, debris and plaque easy access to the vulnerable structures under the gums, including the periodontal ligaments, teeth and bone. When plaque enters these areas it creates chronic inflammation and infections further weakening the gums, teeth and bone. At this point, your dentist will suggest pulling the teeth as the damage is irreversible.
When you get periodontitis, there are a few types you can develop based on your risk factors and pervious conditions. Chronic periodontitis is the most commonly seen form of advanced gum disease. Patients with severe immune deficiencies may be vulnerable to necrotizing periodontitis, which causes the tissue death of structures inside the gums. A rapid form of gum disease called aggressive periodontitis also affects some patients and must be addressed immediately to prevent severe consequences for their dental health.
Prevention for Periodontal Disease
There are a number of practices that will help to lower your risk of gum disease and that will slow its progress if you have already been diagnosed with this condition. We recommend the following practices for our patients:
- Brush and floss your teeth after each meal or snack. If this is not possible, brush twice daily and floss at least once per day to remove damaging plaque from your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after each meal and each time you brush.
- Make regular visits to Miami Center for Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry to get teeth cleanings and to check the condition of your teeth.
These steps can help you keep your teeth and gums much healthier and can promote a lifetime’s worth of more beautiful and healthier smiles.