If you’re experiencing red, swollen and bleeding gums after brushing or flossing, then you’re showing early signs of gum disease or gingivitis. Gingivitis is caused by the buildup of unsightly plaque that if left untreated will cause you to lose your teeth. Although brushing and flossing are effective in the removal of plaque, they’re other [...]
If your gums bleed and they’re always red, sore, and puffy, there’s a good possibility you may have some form of gum disease. Another indicator of gum disease is constant pressure from your dentist to visit your hygienist every three months instead of the yearly visit that you’re accustomed to; and the most telling sign that not only you notice, but others as well is bad breath. Multiple and all of the aforementioned symptoms are telltale signs of periodontal or gum disease.
About three in four people over the age of 20 have some form gum disease according to the American Dental Association. The earliest form of gum disease is gingivitis and it is the most treatable stage of this condition. At this point you can reverse the damage done by simply flossing more often, brushing, and getting regular dental cleanings. Hopefully, the condition has not progressed far enough where tooth loss is inevitable.
Teeth are not implanted in the jaw like fence posts in concrete. They’re encased in living tissue known as the periodontal membrane. This membrane acts as a shock absorber for the teeth. The bones of the jaw and the tooth have thousands of mini fibers connected to them.
There is a little space between the tooth and the periodontal membrane called a pocket that exists in someone with a normal, healthy mouth. The measurements of this pocket are usually 1 to 2 millimeters, or about eight of an inch. Problems come about when food particles as well as bacteria become trapped in the pocket and forms plaque, which is a sticky, gooey substance that sticks to teeth. The plaque then hardens into tartar, which settles into this pocket in layers, ultimately deepening it. The gums eventually lose their natural pink color, become inflamed and red, and bleeds when brushed.
If left untreated, the layers of tartar carry on their destructive process down to the root of the tooth, which will most certainly penetrate the periodontal membrane and eat away at the bones that hold the tooth in place. As a result, the tooth will become loose and eventually fall out.
Some people get gum disease while others don’t, why is that? For the most part, the bacteria responsible for gum disease are highly contagious and can be spread by kissing. On the other hand, some experts believe that there is a direct link between gum disease and adult-onset disease. Another thing that may play a role in gum disease is vitamin C deficiency. A deficiency in this all-important vitamin allows the bacteria to get greater access to the tissues that surround the teeth.
Many people that suffer from gum disease also have cardiovascular disease. Researchers are now beginning to examine the correlation between the two. The answer to the problem may be dietary. Some researchers think that the exact dietary habits of deficiencies promote both problems. Gingivitis may seem like something that should not be worried about, but the bacteria that cause it could travel to the lungs and cause pneumonia. Gingivitis can also be a sign that your immune system may be compromised and should not be taken lightly.
One of the best ways to prevent gum disease is to brush and floss on a regular basis and see a dentist regularly to have the plaque that builds up removed. However, if you’re someone that has a lot of plaque, you may want to see your dentist at least twice a year.
The main treatment for gum disease when you go to your dentist is going to involve a procedure in which a dental hygienist cleans the gums and remove all of the plaque from between the tooth and the gums. Once the plaque has been removed, there is usually an antibiotic treatment that follows. If gum disease is at an advanced stage, surgery may be performed.