Bleeding Gums and Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease, also known as gingivitis, or gum disease, mainly occurs as the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bones that surround and support the teeth. This can cause swollen, red, and bleeding gums, and in late stages, lost teeth. Knowing the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease and taking proper care by brushing, flossing, and annual dental visits can prevent periodontal disease.
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What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is most often seen in adults, and almost 50% of adults aged 30 years and over have some form of periodontal disease. This is caused by bacteria in the mouth, causing inflammation in the tissue surrounding the teeth. When bacteria stays on the teeth for an extended period of time, it leads to a film called plaque forming and eventually hardens to tartar. A buildup of tartar can spread into the gum line making it increasingly harder to thoroughly clean the teeth. Once tartar is built below the gum line, a dental professional is the only person who can remove it.
Annual dentist appointments are important for catching early-stage periodontal disease. If you notice your gums are inflamed and occasionally bleeding, make sure you mention it to your dentist. Although they can see the tartar build-up during your annual cleaning, it’s important for them to know what symptoms you are already experiencing.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
If you are experiencing any discomfort, pain, or bleeding while brushing, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible. The beginning stages of periodontal disease can be painless, and you may not notice any changes until the progressive stages of gum disease occur, when pain, decay, and tooth loss occur. The following are potential warning signs against periodontal disease:
- Bleeding gums
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Receding gums
- Bad breath or bad taste
- Destruction of tissue surrounding teeth
- Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Changes in bite or denture fit
- Painful chewing
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further decay that can lead to advanced gum disease and tooth loss.
Am I At Risk of Periodontal Disease?
The biggest risk factor for periodontal disease is not cleaning your teeth often or thoroughly enough, but there are a few outside factors that can increase the risk for periodontal disease, including:
- Crooked teeth
- Underlying auto-immune disease
- Defective fillings
- Ill-fitting bridges
- Medications that cause dry mouth
- Hormonal changes due to pregnancy or oral contraceptives
What is the Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?
While gingivitis may refer to gum inflammation in the beginning stages of gum disease, periodontitis is an advanced stage of gum disease that can lead to the destruction of bone and tooth loss.
In the earliest stages of gingivitis, bacteria overgrowth can lead to an accumulation of plaque and tartar which can erode the enamel of the teeth and break down the tissues between the teeth and the gums. At this stage, the gum area may be more prone to bleeding, or you may notice sensitivity and pain. However, some patients don’t experience the signs and symptoms of gingivitis at all until it’s too late.
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If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. Prolonged periodontitis can lead to irreversible bone damage and tooth loss caused by bacteria that form in the pockets of damaged tissue surrounding the teeth. While your body is fighting bacterial infections in the mouth, you may also notice other signs and symptoms, including:
It’s important to see a dentist regularly in order to reduce your risk of developing periodontal. While gingivitis is extremely treatable, the treatments for periodontitis can be more involved depending on the severity.
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
In order to keep your smile beautiful, It’s important to pay close attention to the health of your teeth and keep regular cleaning and checkup appointments to prevent tooth loss and decay. Each time you visit our practice for a routine checkup, we’ll perform a comprehensive exam with X-rays that will give us an idea of whether or not your oral health is in danger of periodontal disease. If our staff sees signs of periodontal disease, they may perform a deep cleaning of the tooth root surfaces below the gums.
How Can I Prevent Periodontal Disease?
While there is no foolproof way of preventing periodontal disease, daily brushing and flossing coupled with regular visits to the dentist should do the trick. When you visit the dentist, it’s important that you're honest about what symptoms you’re experiencing so that we can better treat you. Some patients’ gums may bleed even though they brush regularly, and our team may not know that unless they mention it to us. By giving your dentist the most thorough and honest depiction of your oral health habits, we can ensure that your teeth stay beautiful.
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Are you experiencing bleeding gums when you brush your teeth? It may be time for your annual appointment! You can request an appointment online through the link below or call our office at (901)-459-3358.
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