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Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease

Learning About Gum Disease

Most people are already aware of the dangers of cavities and tooth decay, but they don’t know how truly harmful gum disease can be. Known in the medical community as periodontal disease, gum disease is a group of conditions that affect your gums. These conditions can lead to tooth loss, as well as several serious health issues. The best way to prevent one of these conditions from setting in is to become informed about the symptoms of gum disease.

The Impact of Gum Disease on Your Health

Gingivitis and periodontal disease are both types of gum disease. While many people think that gum disease is only something that happens to elderly people, it can occur in people of every age group. In fact, recent studies indicate that nearly 75% of adults in America have the condition and that only 15% of those people are aware of it. Experts believe that at least 60% of teenagers over the age of 15 have some type of gum disease. Most people are able to perform preventative measures in order to avoid gum disease, however around 30% of people have gum disease because they are genetically predisposed to developing it. The good news is that those patients with genetic predispositions can help to manage and improve their condition via the use of basic dental hygiene habits and regular trips to the dentist that can prevent gum disease from progressing into its advanced stages. Following a dental care routine is one of the best ways to prevent, treat, and reverse gum disease. It’s also important that you know what the symptoms of the condition are, as well as the steps you need to take in order to keep your smile happy and healthy.

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease. It is caused by bacteria building up within the mouth. The word gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. The most common symptoms of gingivitis are gums that are red, swollen and gums that bleed while a person is brushing their teeth. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of adults losing their teeth. However, proper dental care can assist in preventing the disease from taking hold in the first place.

How Does Periodontal Disease Develop?

The most common causes of gum disease are bacteria and plaque. It is important to note that there are age and lifestyle factors that can affect the amount of plaque and bacteria within your mouth. The following conditions or factors are things that can impact your chances of getting gum disease:

  • Hormonal changes. Women experience fluctuations in their hormones during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Recent studies have shown that these changes can make the gums sensitive and more prone to gingivitis.
  • Illnesses. Various sicknesses and diseases can negatively impact the overall health of your gums. A few examples of these conditions are cancer, HIV and diabetes.
  • Medications. Many prescription medications can lead to side effects such as dry mouth. Dry mouth is a condition where the production of saliva is impaired. This lack of the proper amount of saliva prevents bacteria from being washed away from your teeth and gums on a consistent basis. Some examples of medications that can lead to this condition are anticonvulsants and anti-angina medications.
  • Poor lifestyle habits. Chewing or smoking tobacco makes it more difficult for your gum tissue to repair itself. This leads to more toxins in the mouth that can eventually lead to gum disease.
  • Dental care neglect. Not brushing and flossing on a daily basis leads to bacteria building up within your mouth. This causes inflammation and disease. In addition to this, skipping regular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings makes your mouth susceptible to plaque and bacteria that can’t be eliminated via brushing.

How Do I Know if I Have Periodontal Disease?

Knowing the signs and symptoms of gum disease can help you to notice the condition before it moves to an advanced stage and causes irreversible damage. Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Gums that bleed during and after brushing your teeth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Red, tender or swollen gums
  • Constant bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gum line
  • Changes in bite or in the way dentures fit
  • Formation of “pockets” in between the teeth and gums
  • Teeth that are loose or shift around easily

Important Facts About Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease happens when gingivitis is left untreated. This advanced stage of gum disease causes the inner layer of your gums and bone to tear away from the teeth, developing pockets that collect debris and eventually become infected. Eventually, the gum line is worn away and the teeth become unstable.

Over time, plaque can spread underneath your gum line. The toxins produced by plaque cause inflammation and irritation that cause the bone and tissue underneath your teeth to wear down, separating the teeth and gums and destroying more supporting bone and tissue. This leads to the teeth becoming loose, falling out or requiring removal. Periodontitis is commonly seen in patients with diabetes, heart ailments or respiratory diseases.

There are many different types of periodontitis. They include:

  • Chronic periodontitis. This is the most typical type of periodontitis found in adults. It is characterized via the inflammation of supporting tissues and a slow progression towards loss of attachment.
  • Aggressive periodontitis. This tends to occur in otherwise healthy patients. It is characterized via the fast destruction of bone and loss of attachment.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis. This is most common in patients who have suppressed immune systems. It is characterized via the death of ligaments, gum tissue and bone.

Tips for Preventing Periodontal Disease

  • Eat a diet that is low in starches and sugars.
  • Use an ADA-approved toothpaste and brush twice a day or after every meal. If you can’t brush after you’ve eaten, rinse your mouth out with water.
  • Swish mouthwash for at least 60 seconds after you’ve brushed your teeth.
  • Floss once a day, being sure to reach all areas of your mouth.

Stay Protected from Gum Disease

Just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have gum disease. There are hundreds of different kinds of bacteria in your mouth and that bacteria starts to reappear within 24 hours of a professional dental cleaning. Your dentist can make an accurate diagnosis of gum disease. Since gum disease can happen without any symptoms showing up, it’s important you see an affordable dentist in Union on a routine basis.

If you happen to be more likely to develop gum disease than other people, you will need to brush your teeth and see the dentist more frequently in order to keep your gums healthy.

Taking care of your teeth and gums is imperative when it comes to avoiding tooth loss caused by gum disease.

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(908) 279-0623

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