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Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease

What Do I Need to Understand About Gum Disease?

When most people think about dental health, they imagine cavities and tooth decay. However, did you know that gum disease is an equally harmful condition that negatively impact your oral and overall health? Known clinically as periodontal disease, gum disease is an array of conditions that can destroy your gum tissue and result in tooth loss, as well as lead to severe health problems that can be incredibly dangerous. To prevent and manage this common disease, it’s best that you understand what signs and symptoms you need to look out for in order to keep your gums as healthy as possible.

Understanding the Impact of Gum Disease on Your Health

Gum disease is an all-too-common condition that most people don’t even realize they have until the disease has progressed into its advanced stages. Nearly 75 percent of adults in America have some type of gum disease. Experts believe that 60 percent of teenagers in the United States have some form of periodontal disease as well. In addition to that, nearly 30 percent of cases are because the patient has a genetic predisposition towards developing the condition. The good news is that it is easily preventable via the use of an excellent dental health care regimen. Keeping up on your dental health is the best way to prevent, treat and reverse damage caused by gum disease before it’s too late. To save your smile, you need to know the most commonly missed symptoms of this disease.

You may have heard of gingivitis. This is the earliest stage of gum disease. It happens when you allow bacteria to remain within your mouth. This bacteria builds up and causes the gums to become inflamed. The most common symptoms of gingivitis are swollen, red gums that bleed during the brushing or flossing process. Untreated gingivitis develops into advanced stage periodontal disease. This is the stage of the disease that causes tooth loss.

Can You Tell Me About the Causes of Gum Disease?

The bacteria that exists within plaque is the main cause of periodontal disease. There are additional factors that should be taken into account when it comes to assessing your risk of developing the disease. For instance, the following age and lifestyle factors can contribute to developing periodontal disease.

  • Hormonal changes. Puberty, pregnancy, menstruation and menopause cause hormones to fluctuate within women. This fluctuation also causes the gums to become sensitive, leading to an increased risk of gingivitis.
  • Illnesses. Those with any type of health condition that makes them more prone to developing secondary infections are at a higher risk of developing gum disease. Some examples of the types of illnesses that can lead to periodontal disease are diabetes, cancer and HIV.
  • Medications. Any prescription medication that causes dry mouth can lead to you being at a higher risk of periodontal disease. This is because dry mouth impairs the production of saliva. This leaves a lot of bacteria present within your mouth.
  • Poor lifestyle habits. Tobacco use – smoking or chewing – can damage gum tissue and make it harder for the tissue to heal.
  • Dental care neglect. Failing to brush, floss or see the dentist on a consistent basis leads to more bacteria in the mouth.

The Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

The most common signs and symptoms of gum disease are often overlooked. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you need to see a dentist as soon as possible in order to be treated:

  • Swollen, tender or red gums
  • Chronic foul taste in your mouth
  • Bleeding gums whenever you brush or floss
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Receding gum line
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in bite or in denture fit
  • Formation of “pockets” between the gum line and the teeth

What Everyone Should Know About Gum Disease

Advanced gum disease is entirely preventable. If you catch it when it is still gingivitis, you will be able to reverse the damage done to your gums. Failing to treat the condition, leads to the gums and bone pulling away from the teeth and the formation of pockets. These pockets collect debris and become infected. Eventually, the gum line is worn away and the teeth suffer from a lack of stability.

The plaque will continue attacking the gums and will spread underneath your gum line. The inflammation caused by the plaque will continue pulling the teeth and gums apart and the supporting bone and tissues underneath the teeth will be destroyed. This leads to the teeth becoming loose. Many patients lose their teeth at this stage, and periodontitis is the most common cause of tooth loss for adults. Periodontitis is also commonly found in patients with diabetes, respiratory disease or heart ailments.

There are a few different kinds of periodontitis that you can be diagnosed with, they are:

  • Chronic periodontitis which occurs mostly in adults. This is characterized by inflamed gums and the slow loss of attachment between the teeth and gums.
  • Aggressive periodontitis that occurs in people who are otherwise healthy. This is characterized by the rapid destruction of bone and attachment loss between the gums and teeth.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis that occurs in people with suppressed immune systems. This is characterized by bone, gum tissue and periodontal ligaments dying off.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Periodontal Disease

  • Eat a balanced diet that is low in starches and sugars and processed foods.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day (after every meal if possible). Rinse your mouth out with water whenever you eat.
  • Floss at least once a day and make sure that you are reaching all areas of the mouth.
  • Utilize a mouthwash for at least 60 seconds after brushing.

Don’t Let Gum Disease Take Hold

Don’t let a lack of symptoms keep you from seeing the dentist. Your dentist will be able to tell whether or not you have gum disease before symptoms begin, when the disease has just started and it’s most important to catch it. To make an appointment to get your oral health on track, contact our office in Atlanta as soon as possible.

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