Bleeding gums, primarily caused by gum disease (or periodontal disease), is very common, affecting an estimated 75% of American adults over age 35. When you have gum disease, even ordinary dental hygiene like brushing and flossing can draw blood. In today’s post, we present a summary of gum disease and what you can do about it.
Early stage gum disease, called gingivitis, is characterized by inflammation of the gums. Everyone’s teeth collects a sticky film of bacteria called “plaque” throughout the day. But if plaque is not removed by daily oral hygiene, it can irritate your gums. Eventually, plaque that is not removed will harden into tartar that can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. Irritation from plaque and tartar causes bleeding, tenderness, and the tissues around your teeth to pull away. These resulting pockets allow even more bacteria to collect. If left untreated, gum disease can do more than merely cause bleeding; it can lead to infection, pain, loss of teeth, and bone loss!
The treatment of gum disease depends on the severity of the condition. In its early stage, it can be reversed with a combination of routine professional cleanings, consistent daily hygiene, and a healthy diet. However, in its advanced stage (known as “periodontitis”), we’ll need to address the destruction of tissue and bone that has already occurred with a deep cleaning below the gumline and other specialized treatments.
Proper daily oral hygiene is the number one key to keeping gum disease at bay. This requires brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing between your teeth at least once a day, and having regular dental checkups and cleanings. It should also be stressed that smoking or chewing tobacco is particularly harmful to gum tissue—and oral health in general.
If your gums already bleed when you brush and floss, don’t wait until it gets worse. We can suggest additional tips to improve your oral health, as well as make sure your teeth and gumline are squeaky clean! Contact us at Jack Vayner DDS to set up an appointment today.
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