Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
In its earliest stages, periodontal disease may be marked primarily by red or swollen gum tissue. As the disease progresses bleeding gums following brushing or eating crunchy foods are common as well. At this point, it is important to contact our office for an examination and treatment evaluation to help prevent the disease from progressing. Advanced forms of periodontal disease can pose serious oral and systemic health risks.
Beyond Bleeding Gums
As periodontal disease progresses, so too do its telltale signs. These may include:
- Chronic bad breath
- A persistent bad taste in the mouth
- Pus in between teeth
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Changes to bite strength and tension
- Changes in tooth color
These symptoms often lead to tooth loss. More worrisome, when periodontal disease is allowed to continue progressing, bone necrosis and other serious oral health issues may occur.
Not Just an Oral Health Issue
Advanced periodontal disease can result in tooth loss and significant oral health problems. It is also a known risk factor for:
- Heart attack and stroke
- Kidney and liver damage
- Respiratory illnesses
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s
The bacteria responsible for periodontal disease has also been shown to complicate diabetes and increase risks for premature birth and other pregnancy complications.
Your gums play a crucial role in your oral health. They serve two important functions:
Provide support to the teeth at the place where they emerge from the jaw bone
Provide a seal around your teeth which prevents food and other debris from causing infection below the gum line.
Bleeding gums is generally a sign that there is a serious problem with this delicate tissue surrounding your teeth. In many cases, it is an indicator that you may have developed early periodontal disease. It is important to seek treatment for this condition immediately. Failure to do so might result in serious oral health issues down the road, including tooth loss.
Causes of Bleeding Gums
The most common cause of bleeding gums is poor oral hygiene. Failure to brush or floss properly after meals can result in the formation of a thin filmy layer of plaque on the surface of your teeth. Over time, this plaque can changeinto tartar which causes severe inflammation of your gum tissues andcan cause an infection that makes them soft, spongy, and swollen. If left untreated, these infected gums will eventually start to bleed.
Other potential causes of bleeding gums include:
- Brushing too hard
- Improper flossing technique
- Poorly fitting dentures
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy
- Eating coarse food items
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
- Vitamin K deficiency
- Use of blood thinners
It is important to visit our Mesa dentists as soon as you notice you have bleeding gums so that the cause of your condition can be accurately identified and treated before you jeopardize your long term oral health.
Preventing Bleeding Gums
Due to the serious issues associated with bleeding gums, particularly the further development of gum disease, it is important to take the necessary steps to prevent this condition from occurring. It is much easier to prevent bleeding gums than to treat them once the issue develops.
Prevention of bleeding gums is primarily accomplished by maintaining good oral hygiene. The following practices will help keep your gums healthy:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day and whenever possible, brush after meals
- Floss at least once a day
- Be gentle but thorough when you brush and floss – use a soft bristle tooth brush to prevent irritating your gums
- Rinse your mouth after eating with an antibacterial mouth rinse
Treatment for Bleeding Gums
Bleeding gums are generally a sign that you are not caring for them properly. The first step in treating bleeding gums is to brush and floss regularly, making sure you do so thoroughly but gently. If your bleeding gums are caused by an infection or inflammation of the gum tissue, you must eliminate the source of the bacteria causing this infection. Regular 6 month dental exams canhelp the dentist find and treat the causes of these infections/inflammations earlybefore they become a major problem. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices is a must in treating gingivitis and periodontal diseases. In cases of serious infections, you may require antibiotics.
If you are unable to stop your gums from bleeding by maintaining thorough oral hygiene practices and getting 6 month checkups and cleanings, it may be a sign that a more serious condition is developing. You should then schedule an appointment with our Mesa dentists at once so that we can evaluate your gums and recommend the appropriate periodontal treatment to address the condition.