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Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease

You work hard to maintain those beautiful pearly whites, but did you know that maintaining your gums is equally as important to your overall oral health? Most people aren’t aware of the severity of gum disease, known as gingivitis in its early stage, or how much damage it can do to an otherwise flawless smile. Medically called periodontal disease, gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. When it’s detected and treated while it’s still gingivitis, then it can be cured. Any damage it has done can be reversed. Please continue reading to learn about periodontal disease and the damage it can do to your physical health as well as your oral health.

What Is Meant by Gum Disease?

Gum disease is the beginning of periodontal disease, and it’s usually caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Whether it’s a lack of frequency or quality, poor oral hygiene doesn’t remove the bacteria that accumulate in your mouth each time you eat or drink. If your diet is high in sugars and carbohydrates, then you’ve provided an ideal environment for the bacteria to thrive and proliferate.

About 75 percent of American adults have gum disease, but only about 15 percent of them are aware of the fact. Of those, about 30 percent have a genetic predisposition to the disease, so they need to pay particular attention to their oral hygiene regimen so that the bacteria don’t gain a stronghold in their mouths. More than 60 percent of teens older than 14 years have periodontal disease, which can cause problems with their oral health throughout their lives. Early detection and treatment are the keys to preventing gum disease and its deleterious side effects.

In its early stage, gingivitis will present as inflammation and infection in the gums. You’ll probably have swollen and inflamed gums, and you may notice minor bleeding after you brush and floss. Don’t ignore these symptoms. They’re indicative of gingivitis or periodontal disease, and they won’t self-heal. You’ll need professional treatment and advice in order to stop the advance of gingivitis and repair the damage. If you wait until you have periodontal disease, then you’ll have incurred irreparable damage to your teeth and gums.

Will Gum Disease Negatively Impact My Health?

Your physical health, as well as your oral health, will be adversely impacted by gingivitis or periodontal disease. Research has shown a correlation between a history of gum disease and other severe health issues.

The membranes in your mouth are thin, so any inflammation or infection that’s in your mouth can easily pass through the membranes and be absorbed into the bloodstream. They’re then carried throughout the body to all your major organs, where they can cause substantial damage. When bacteria remain in your mouth for a shorter time, they’re less likely to be distributed throughout the body. Thus the importance of brushing and flossing after you eat a snack or meal. When brushing and flossing aren’t feasible, rinse your mouth with clear water to eliminate much of the bacteria.

What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?

The primary cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. This can mean that your oral hygiene regimen is satisfactory but insufficient for quantity or that your regimen is lacking in quality. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush and floss at least twice each day. Brush for at least two minutes each time, and use an antibacterial mouthwash afterward. Your toothbrush, toothpaste, and your mouthwash should all carry the American Dental Association seal of approval. You should also have semi-annual checkups and cleanings. If twice-yearly isn’t feasible, then at least have an annual checkup and cleaning. Even if you have an excellent oral hygiene regimen, your dentist may detect a potential issue that you missed.

Pay attention to some of the reasons why people develop gingivitis. It’s important to understand what puts you at a higher risk for the disease.

  • A high-carbohydrate, high-sugar diet. A poor diet that contains lots of sugar and carbohydrates provides an excellent environment for the growth of bacteria.
  • Any auto-immune disorders or severe diseases such as HIV, cancer, or diabetes that compromise the immune response
  • Hormonal variations that increase gum sensitivity
  • Inadequate hydration. When your mouth is dry, the bacteria aren’t eliminated as quickly as they should be, so they can encourage the formation of infection and inflammation.
  • Prescription medications. If you’re taking prescription medications that cause you to have a dry mouth, you may accumulate a buildup of bacteria that will encourage the onset of gingivitis.
  • Using tobacco products in any form deposits toxins into the mouth, where they are readily absorbed by the membranes, and they compromise the immune system’s effectiveness.

Brushing and flossing after each snack or meal is the best way to ward off gingivitis or periodontal disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

Although gum disease can exist for a long time without any symptoms, you’ll usually notice minor bleeding during or after flossing or brushing. If this is the case, then make an appointment with your Bloomington dentist so you can stop your gum disease before it escalates to periodontal disease or periodontitis. Typical symptoms of gum disease include:

  • A perpetual bad taste in your mouth regardless of hygiene
  • Any changes to your bite or the way your dentures fit
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose or loosening teeth
  • Pain
  • Pockets between the gums and teeth
  • Pus between your teeth
  • Swollen, inflamed gums
  • Receding gums

If you notice any of these symptoms, you probably have some stage of gum disease and should immediately schedule an appointment with your dentist.

What Critical Facts Should I Know About Periodontal Disease?

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adult Americans, and this is a completely avoidable statistic because gum disease is completely and easily preventable. There are three types of periodontal disease that can only be diagnosed by your dentist. They are:

  • Aggressive periodontitis: This type is usually seen in people who are otherwise healthy. It progresses quickly and will destroy the jawbone, gums, and ligaments.
  • Chronic periodontitis: This is the most common type and progresses more slowly.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis: This type usually occurs in people who have compromised immune systems. It’s characterized by the death of the gum tissues, jawbone, and ligaments that secure the teeth.

If you have gum disease at any stage, don’t procrastinate in seeking treatment.

Can I Prevent Gum Disease?

Gum disease is easily prevented with good oral hygiene that includes at least annual dental checkups and cleanings. When you exercise good oral hygiene, you’re more likely to maintain your beautiful smile throughout your life without the aid of artificial teeth.

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