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Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease

Finding Out About Periodontal Disease

The evils of tooth decay and cavities are well known, however the imminent danger that is posed by gum disease is less known. Gum disease is also referred to as periodontal disease. This is a group of conditions that attack the health of your gums and eventually leads to losing your teeth. Periodontal disease can also cause serious repercussions to your health. In order to keep gum disease from setting in, you need to be educated on the signs and symptoms that indicate that you have it.

The Effects of Gum Disease on Your Health

When people think of tooth loss from gum disease, they tend to think of it occurring only to elderly people. However, gum disease can strike anyone at any age. Recent estimates suggest that 75 percent of adults in America have some form of the condition. The majority of those people don’t even know that they have it. Additionally, gum disease is thought to affect up to 60 percent of teenagers 15 and up. Current research indicates that 30 percent of the population is genetically predisposed to developing some type of periodontal disease. Fortunately, keeping up with basic dental care habits can assist in preventing the disease from settling into your mouth or becoming worse. Habits such as brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist are essential elements when it comes to the prevention, treatment and reversal of gum disease. Another key element is recognizing the early symptoms of the disease.

When gum disease is in its earliest stages it is called gingivitis. This condition occurs when oral bacteria begin to accumulate inside of the mouth, leading to the gums becoming inflamed. If your gums are red, swollen and tend to bleed when you brush them, then you most likely have gingivitis. Failing to treat this condition can lead to it turning into advanced periodontal disease, which can cause serious issues such as tooth loss.

What Leads to Periodontal Disease?

There are multiple factors that can lead to gum disease. The primary culprits are plaque and bacteria. Other reasons behind the development of this disease include age, gender and lifestyle factors. Some of the things impacting your risk are listed below:

  • Hormonal changes. Women experience a natural fluctuation in their hormones when they go through puberty, menopause, pregnancy and menstruation. This fluctuation may make the gums more sensitive and prone to gingivitis.
  •  Illnesses. Patients who have an illness or disease that makes them more prone to developing infections are more likely to develop gum disease. Common conditions that can contribute to a higher risk of gum disease are cancer, diabetes and HIV.
  • Medications. Prescription medications can have an impact on your oral health. This is because they can lead to a side effect known as dry mouth. Dry mouth impairs the production of saliva, which leads to more bacteria being present within the mouth. Many anticonvulsant and anti-angina medications can cause this impairment.
  • Poor lifestyle habits. Partaking in the smoking or chewing of tobacco can make it harder for your gum tissue to heal itself. It also contributes to higher levels of toxins in the mouth that can damage your gums.
  • Dental care neglect. Bacteria can easily begin to build up and inflame the gums when you fail to brush or floss on a daily basis. Failing to have your teeth professionally cleaned can result in bacteria building up in places that can’t be reached via your toothbrush alone.

What Should You Know About the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

The most common symptoms of gum disease are often overlooked. You should see your dentist immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Gums that bleed while you brush your teeth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Gums that are red, tender or swollen
  • Persistent foul taste in your mouth
  • Receding gum line
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in bite or in denture fit
  • Formation of “pockets” between the teeth and gums

Critical Facts About Gum Disease

When left unaddressed, gingivitis will turn into periodontal disease. When this happens, your teeth will pull away from the inner layer of bone and gum. This is what leads to the formation of pockets. The pockets then fill with debris, which will then lead to infection setting in. As the condition progresses, the gum line will be worn down and your teeth will become unstable.

Plaque can also spread underneath your gum line, leading to inflammation and irritation. The inflammation will lead to your gum tissue becoming degraded, causing the teeth and gums to pull further apart. As the gums and teeth pull away from each other, further damage is done to the supporting bone and tissue. This is how periodontal disease causes tooth loss. Systemic diseases such as diabetes, heart ailments and respiratory diseases can also cause periodontitis.

Different types of periodontitis include:

  • Chronic periodontitis. This is the most common type of periodontitis. It is characterized by gum inflammation and the teeth losing their attachment to the gums over a gradual period of time.
  • Aggressive periodontitis. This type of periodontitis develops quickly. It quickly destroys bone and tissue, leading to the teeth rapidly losing their attachment to the gums.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis. This is most commonly found in people who have suppressed immune systems. It is characterized by the death of gum tissue, periodontal ligaments and bone.

Tips for Preventing Gum Disease

  • Keep your diet low in sugars and starches
  • Brush your teeth twice a day, or better yet, after every meal. If you can’t brush after each meal, rinse out your mouth with water.
  • Use a mouthwash after brushing. Be sure to swish the mouthwash around your mouth for at least one minute.
  • Floss once a day.

Keep Periodontal Disease Away

Since oral bacteria reappear within 24 hours of a professional dental cleaning, it’s important that you keep up on your dental hygiene routines. Your dentist will be able to properly diagnose you with gum disease. Be sure that you see a dentist in Bradenton so that you can maintain the status of your oral health.

In order to increase your chances of developing gum disease, be sure that you brush your teeth frequently. Taking care of your teeth and gums is the only way to ensure that your smile stays healthy for a lifetime.

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