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Posted on: March 15, 2021
Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease
Learning About Periodontal Disease
Tooth decay and cavities are well known dangers to the state of your oral and overall health. However, did you know that gum disease is just as harmful? Medically known as periodontal disease, gum disease is a group of conditions that leads to tooth loss and dangerous consequences to your health. In order to increase your chances of successfully treating this condition, you need to know about the symptoms of gum disease, as well as how you can prevent it.
The Impact of Periodontal Disease on Your Health
Gingivitis and periodontal disease are conditions that can affect people of all ages. It’s estimated that 75% of adults in the United States of America have some type of gum disease. Out of that percentage, only 15% know that they have it. In addition to this, nearly 60% of teenagers have some kind of gum disease. While there are things that you can do in order to prevent the development of this disease, there are an estimated 30% of patients who develop it due to having a genetic predisposition to it. Fortunately, preventing and controlling this disease is as simple as maintaining good dental care habits. Establishing a dental hygiene and care routine can help in preventing, treating and reversing the damage caused by gum disease. To keep your smile protected, you need to know the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease in all of its forms.
The earliest stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis. The name gingivitis literally means inflammation of the gums. Symptoms of this condition are swollen, red gums that are prone to bleeding during brushing. Gingivitis is caused by bacteria building up within the tissues of your mouth. Gum disease is the number one cause of adults losing their teeth in the United States. However, it can be completely prevented via properly caring for your oral health.
What Leads to Gum Disease?
Plaque and bacteria are the main causes of periodontal disease; however, it is important to note that there are certain lifestyle and age factors that can lead to you having high levels of bacteria and plaque inside of your mouth.
- Hormonal changes. Women experience fluctuations in their hormones throughout their lives. These fluctuations occur during pregnancy, menstruation, menopause and puberty. While these changes are natural, they can lead to the gums being sensitive and more likely to develop gingivitis.
- Illnesses. Patients who have chronic health conditions that make them more likely to develop infections also have a higher risk of developing gum disease. Some examples of conditions that put you at a higher risk are diabetes, HIV and cancer.
- Medications. Dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription medications. This condition leads to an impairment of saliva production, which leads to more bacteria within the mouth. Examples of medications that can cause dry mouth are anticonvulsants and anti-angina medications.
- Poor lifestyle habits. If you chew or smoke tobacco you are at a higher risk of developing gum disease. This is because tobacco can cause damage to the gums and make it more difficult for the gum tissue to heal itself. Tobacco also increases the levels of toxins that can damage the gums.
- Dental care neglect. Not brushing and flossing daily causes bacteria to build up, leading to decay and disease. Skipping visits to the dentist means that bacteria in hard-to-reach places isn’t able to be removed.
What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Gum Disease?
Gum disease often progresses silently, with few symptoms to warn you that you have the disease. Knowing the signs to look for can help you discover the condition before it’s too late. Symptoms to keep an eye out for include:
- Gums that are tender, swollen or red
- Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
- Chronic bad breath
- A gum line that begins to recede
- Constant foul taste in the mouth
- “Pockets” forming between the teeth and gum line
- Loose teeth or teeth that shift around easily
- Change in bite or in the way dentures fit
Critical Facts About Periodontal Disease
Leaving gingivitis untreated leads to periodontal disease. This condition leads to the gums and bone shifting away from the teeth, developing pockets that collect debris and become infected. The buildup wears the gum line away and destabilize the teeth.
Plaque is capable of spreading beneath the gums, leading to inflammation and irritation. This wears down the bone and tissue that exists beneath your teeth, leading to the teeth and gums separating. The separation process destroys even more of your bone and tissue. This causes the teeth to become loose. In severe cases, the teeth fall out or need to be removed surgically. Periodontitis cases can be found in some patients who have conditions like heart ailments, respiratory diseases or diabetes.
There is more than one kind of periodontitis. A few of the different types are:
- Chronic periodontitis. This is the most common type of periodontitis. Patients with this condition experience inflamed gum tissues and the gradual loss of attachment in the teeth.
- Aggressive periodontitis. This typically develops in healthy people. Patients with this form of the condition have rapid bone loss and the teeth quickly become unattached.
- Necrotizing periodontitis. This condition is most commonly found in people who have suppressed immune systems. This type of periodontitis causes the gum tissue, bone and periodontal ligaments to die.
Gum Disease Prevention Tips
- Maintain a diet low in sugars and starches.
- Use an ADA-approved toothpaste and brush twice a day. Ideally, you should brush after every meal. If this isn’t an option, be sure to rinse your mouth out with water after eating.
- Use an ADA-approved mouthwash for at least 60 seconds after brushing.
- Thoroughly floss your teeth at least once per day.
Keep Gum Disease Away
There are hundreds of different kinds of bacteria living inside of your mouth. While professional cleanings get rid of them, the oral bacteria begin to emerge again within 24 hours. Since periodontal disease so frequently occurs without symptoms, it’s important that you routinely visit a dentist in Bradenton so that you can keep gum disease away.
If your dentist determines that you are at a higher risk of developing gum disease, he or she may prescribe more frequent visits to the dentist. You will also need to brush your teeth more often.
Keeping your smile happy, healthy and intact means you need to receive proper dental care. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.