Bleeding or swollen gums? Here’s what you need to know
You brush your teeth and your gums bleed a little. You blame the toothbrush, or brushing too hard. The fact is, gums shouldn’t bleed from brushing. If yours are, you could have gum disease. Gum disease is common, but it’s serious. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth decay and eventual tooth loss.
Bleeding gums or gums that are swollen are an early sign of gingivitis, the less serious form of gum disease. Periodontal disease, the proper term for gum disease, consists of two stages:
What is Gingivitis?
At this stage, plaque is present. Plaque is a film of bacteria that forms on your teeth and gums. When it hardens, it’s called tartar and has to be scraped off by a special dental instrument.Persistent bad breath is a sign of Gingivitus.
The dangers of Periodontitis
When gingivitis is not treated, bacteria can grow under the gum line. At this point, the danger is that the teeth will begin to separate from the gums, which can eventually cause the teeth to fall out.
Gum disease treatment
Treatment for gingivitis is simple and involves cleaning away the plaque and tartar. Periodontitis treatment is more involved, and usually consists of scaling (cleaning) and root planing. Root planing exposes the tooth root to clean out the bacteria below the gum line and smooth the surface to inhibit bacteria from growing there.
Gum disease affects your overall health
Bacteria in your mouth can spread throughout your whole body. At the same time, problems in other parts of your body can affect your oral health. Certain medical conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, have been linked to gum disease. Gum disease and pregnancy are often companions, due to hormonal changes. Even if you brush and floss regularly, you may get gum disease due to other factors. Sometimes you inherit it, or it can be caused by medications you are taking.
Don’t put off gum disease treatment
You should never see gum disease as your fault, or something to be ashamed of. If you see signs of gum disease like swollen, reddened or bleeding gums, get to the dentist right away. Gingivitis is completely reversible, and periodontitis can be prevented. Healthy gums are the key to healthy teeth and an important part of good overall health.