Gum Disease and Bleeding Gums
Regular brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent gum disease. It has been estimated that 75% of Americans have some form of gum disease. This is the major cause of tooth loss in adults and has been linked to serious health complications such as heart disease.
Gum disease is an infection of the gums which are the tissues that surround your teeth. It begins with bacterial growth in your mouth. If not treated, it can result in tooth loss and destruction of the gum tissue and bone loss.
Gum disease is caused by the bacteria found in in plaque which is a sticky colorless film that is constantly forming on teeth. If this plaque is not removed by daily brushing, it can build up. The bacteria can not only infect your gum and teeth, but also the underlying bone.
Gum disease is often painless, but here are some warning signs to watch for.
- Bleeding gums or gums that bleed easily.
- Gums that are red or swollen. You may notice gums pulling away from teeth.
- A persistent bad taste or bad breath.
- Changes in how your teeth fit together when you bite.
- Change in how your dentures fit.
Three Stages of Gum Disease
- Gingivitis: This is the first/earliest form of gum disease. At this stage many people don’t realize they have the disease. You may notice some bleeding during brushing or flossing. With treatment, gingivitis can be treated and the effects reversed.
- Periodontitis: This is a serious gum infection that destroys not only the gums/soft tissue but also the bone that support your teeth. Your gums may begin to form pockets below your gum line which will trap food and plaque. In addition to tooth loss, you will have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke and other serious health problems. Proper dental treatment is required to prevent further damage.
- Advanced Periodontitis: This is the final stage of gum disease. The fibers and bone that support your teeth are destroyed. Teeth will shift and loosen which will affect your bite. Toxins from the bacteria will enter your blood stream and create an inflammation in the liver and other organs. Aggressive dental treatment or removal of the teeth may be required.