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Posted on: March 11, 2021
Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease
Most of us make great efforts to maintain our teeth so that we can have a beautiful smile. But you can’t have a beautiful smile and healthy teeth unless you also have healthy gums. If your gums are bleeding, especially during or after you brush or floss, then they’re not healthy, and your beautiful smile will be a thing of the past. Learning the causes of gum disease and how to prevent it can save both your oral health and your physical health, so read on to learn more about bleeding gums and gum disease.
What’s the Definition of Gum Disease and How Does It Impact Your Health?
Gum disease is an infection and inflammation of the gum tissues surrounding the teeth. It usually presents as swelling or redness the gums, and people typically notice that they have minor bleeding when they brush or floss. Sometimes, gum disease is accompanied by pain, but it can be present asymptomatically. For this reason, as well as others, the American Dental Association recommends that you see your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning. If that’s not feasible, then you should have annual visits at a minimum. Even if you have no symptoms, your dentist can detect the signs of gingivitis and address them before they escalate to periodontal disease.
Generally, What Causes Gum Disease?
Research has verified a correlation between periodontal disease, the medical term for gum disease, and major health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, bone loss, headaches, yeast infections, lung problems, and more. Although the presence of periodontal disease doesn’t guarantee that you’ll develop one of these health problems, it increases the likelihood of their onset. Maintaining healthy gums is not only good for your beautiful smile, but it’s also good for your physical health.
The reverse is also true, that there are certain risk factors that can increase your risk of getting gum disease in the first place. If you have any of the following risk factors, monitor your mouth and gums closely for signs of gum disease.
- Medications: Those who don’t drink enough water to maintain adequate hydration may have a dry mouth. This can contribute to gum disease because the bacteria aren’t flushed out of the mouth. Some prescription medications have dry mouth as a side effect, so anyone taking those medications should be particularly dedicated to their oral hygiene routine.
- Hormones: Hormonal fluctuations in women can cause the gums to be especially sensitive and more susceptible to gum disease. More sensitive gums could also mean that the individual is less likely to brush and floss adequately, resulting in gum disease.
- Lifestyle Habits: Tobacco use by any method can make it difficult for the gums to heal, and the result can be bleeding gums and the onset of gingivitis.
- Illnesses: Severe illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, or HIV can inhibit the body’s ability to heal, thus causing gum disease to start.
Of the approximately 75 percent of adults who have gum disease, about one-third are genetically predisposed to the disease. This means that even an excellent oral care regimen may not prevent the disease from developing, so they should be dedicated to semi-annual dentist visits.
How Will I Know If I Have Gum Disease?
Although you may have gum disease without any symptoms, you’ll usually notice minor bleeding when you brush or floss, and you may have minor pain. Your gums may be inflamed and red, and you may have swelling or inflammation. If you notice any of these symptoms, then schedule an appointment with your dentist. The disease isn’t self-healing. You’ll need to be evaluated by a professional and then follow their instructions assiduously. When you have regularly scheduled dental appointments twice each year, you’re less likely to experience the discomfort of gum disease.
Are There Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease to Watch Out For?
Although some people may have no signs or symptoms of gum disease, many will notice some or all of the following if they’re developing gingivitis:
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Bite changes
- Perpetual bad breath
- Receding gums
- Pockets between the gums and teeth
- Inflamed gums
- Swollen and sensitive gums
- Pus between the teeth and gums
If you notice any or all of these symptoms, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist without delay. When not treated timely, these signs and symptoms can easily escalate into one of the more serious stages of gum disease. When treated while in the early stage of gingivitis, any damage that the disease has caused can usually be reversed. Otherwise, you’ll probably incur permanent damage that can’t be reversed.
Are There Additional Facts to Know About Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease starts as gingivitis. Then, predictably, it becomes periodontal disease, then periodontitis, then advanced periodontitis. When not treated in the early stage of gingivitis, the gums and bone will begin to recede from the teeth and form pockets. Bacteria and food particles will collect in the pockets and hasten the onset of decay and inflammation. Eventually, if not treated at this point, the teeth will fall out, the jawbone and gums will deteriorate, and you’ll lose your facial structure. At this point, your only option will be expensive and painful reconstructive dentistry. We don’t tell you this to scare you into seeking dental care, we tell you this to highlight how rapidly this disease progresses and how important it is to do something about it the moment you suspect you have gum disease.
To help further clarify, there are three types of periodontal disease that can only be diagnosed by a professional. They are:
- Aggressive periodontitis: This occurs in otherwise healthy individuals and advances very aggressively. It will rapidly destroy the jawbone and gums.
- Chronic periodontitis: This is the type most frequently seen in adults and proceeds more slowly.
- Necrotizing periodontitis: This type causes the death of the gum tissues, ligaments that secure the teeth, and the cells in the jawbone. It’s most often seen in those with compromised immune systems.
What’s the Best Way to Prevent Gum Disease?
It’s probably extremely obvious right now, but the best method for preventing the onset of gingivitis gum disease is to practice excellent oral hygiene that includes regular visits to your dentist for a cleaning and a checkup. Proactively taking care of your teeth and gums is the best method for ensuring that they last throughout your lifetime. Otherwise, you’ll have a mouth full of artificial teeth, or no teeth at all, instead of the beautiful, healthy smile that you want.