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Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease

Everyone knows the importance of healthy teeth in maintaining a beautiful smile, but many people are unaware of the importance of maintaining healthy gums. Without healthy gums, you can’t have healthy teeth or a healthy mouth. Since gum disease may be present for a long time without displaying any symptoms, many people aren’t aware that they’re developing gingivitis until they notice bleeding after brushing or flossing. Please read on to learn more about gum disease and how to detect it.

The Overall Impact of Gum Disease on Your Health

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease, and it affects 75 percent of adults in America. Thirty percent of them have a genetic tendency to develop the disease, so they’ll need to be even more dedicated to maintaining their good oral health. More than 60 percent of older teens – those who are older than 14 – have gingivitis gum disease, many of whom are probably unaware of it. Gingivitis is the initial stage of periodontal disease and is an infection and inflammation in the gum tissue. It can be very serious if not treated. However, when treated in the early stages, it can be stopped, and any damage that’s occurred can be reversed. If you think you have gingivitis, then call your dentist!

When gum disease, known as gingivitis in its initial stage, is treated promptly, it can be cured, and its effects can be reversed with little or no adverse impact on your health. Statistically, periodontal disease has been linked to other diseases. Those diseases can make it difficult to live your best life and may end up costing you far more than a dental cleaning would. Keep in mind that gingivitis is common, but easy to treat with a simple visit to the dentist. Any dentist’s goal is to keep your teeth and gums healthy, so don’t be afraid to talk to your dentist if you think you have gum disease.

If gingivitis isn’t treated, then it will become periodontal disease. If not treated at this point, it will develop into periodontitis and then advanced periodontitis. By the time it reaches this stage, you’ll have destroyed the ligaments that secure your teeth, your jawbone and gums will have deteriorated, you’ll have lost facial structure, and you’ll have lost or be in the process of losing all your teeth. Your sole recourse will be reconstructive dentistry to restore your teeth and gums. All of these deleterious side effects can be prevented by a regimen of good oral hygiene that includes at least annual visits to your dentist.

What Will Cause Gum Disease To Develop?

The primary cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. If you have good brushing and flossing habits and use mouthwash, but only once daily, this is poor oral hygiene. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush and floss at least twice daily and use an antibacterial mouthwash afterward. Your toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash should all carry the American Dental Association seal of approval.

If you brush and floss twice daily, but the entire routine takes less than a minute, this constitutes poor oral hygiene. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush for at least two minutes each time you brush. By following these guidelines and seeing your dentist at least annually – although semi-annually is better – then you’ll be considerably less likely to develop gingivitis.

However, there are other factors that can influence the development of gingivitis, such as:

  • A diet high in carbohydrates and sugars. Diets that are high in sugars and carbohydrates provide the ideal climate for bacteria to develop, but maintaining a healthy diet that’s low in both sugars and carbs can deter the formation of gingival disease.
  • Auto-immune disorders or severe diseases such as cancer, diabetes, or HIV that lower the immune response
  • Hormone fluctuations which occur during puberty, menopause, during pregnancy and menstruation can increase gum sensitivity
  • Dehydration. A dry mouth can contribute to gum disease because the bacteria in the mouth aren’t flushed out regularly. Maintaining good hydration keeps the oral tissues moist and helps eliminate the bacteria that cling to the teeth.
  • Prescription medications that cause dry mouth
  • Using tobacco in any form

The Symptoms of Gum Disease

Although gingivitis can present asymptomatically, there are usually a few symptoms, such as:

  • A bad taste in your mouth regardless of hygiene
  • Changes in your bite
  • Inflamed and swollen gums
  • Loose or loosening teeth
  • Minor pain
  • Perpetual bad breath
  • Pockets between the teeth and gums
  • Pus between your teeth
  • Receding gums

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. Detecting gum disease early is the best method for preventing it and reversing any damage. It also keeps it from developing into periodontal disease that can destroy both your physical and your oral health.

What Facts Should I Know About Developing Periodontal Disease?

Three types of periodontal disease can only be diagnosed by a
dentist, so if you have any of the above symptoms, your best bet is to call your dentist. Types of periodontal disease include:

  • Aggressive periodontitis, which is usually seen in otherwise healthy people. It progresses rapidly and destroys the jawbone, gums, and ligaments.
  • Chronic periodontitis, which is the most common type and progresses more slowly.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis, which usually occurs in those who have compromised immune systems and is characterized by the death of the gum tissues, jawbone, and ligaments that secure the teeth.
    Your dentist will advise you of the type of periodontal disease that you have and will recommend the best course of treatment for it.

Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?

Gum disease is arguably one of the most destructive diseases that’s commonly seen in dentistry, but it’s completely preventable through a regimen of good oral hygiene. Following the recommendations laid out by the American Dental Association is the best method for preventing gum disease from developing. Particularly for those who have a genetic predisposition to gum disease, maintaining a regimen of good oral hygiene can ensure that their natural teeth last throughout their lifetime.

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