Gum disease is a widespread disorder that affects millions of people in the United States. But what causes it? How does the disease develop? Understanding the causes of the disease is important because with the right steps you can reduce the risk of developing periodontal problems.
Healthy gums do not bleed. If your gums bleed, you could be showing early stages of periodontal disease, or gum disease. It occurs when bacteria found in the plaque builds up on the teeth and along the gum line. Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, precedes periodontitis, or gum disease.
However, not all gingivitis will progress into gum disease if you seek treatment promptly. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of gum disease. This way you can prevent it and seek treatment if you need to.
Signs of Gum Disease
Look for symptoms of gingivitis and periodontitis before they progress further. Common signs of gum disease to look out for include:
- Bleeding Gums
- Red and Swollen Gums
- Loose Teeth
- Shifting Teeth
- Halitosis (Bad Breath)
- Mouth Sores
- Receding Gums
- Tender Gums
Gum Disease Risk Factors
In order to understand and prevent gingivitis or periodontitis, it is important to know conditions that may make you more prone to gum disease. Often, poor oral hygiene allows plaque and tartar to coat the teeth. This biofilm is the result of bacteria breaking down food particles and can irritate the gum tissue, causing inflammation.
Smoking and tobacco use can make the inflammation worse. In addition, certain medications and treatments can also cause the gums to become inflamed. You may also be genetically predisposed to developing the disease. Common risk factors can include:
- Smoking and Tobacco Use
- Poor Nutrition
- Teeth Clenching and Grinding
- Certain Medications
- A vitamin deficiency
- Heart Disease
The disease often starts as inflammation, also known as gingivitis. When the gums become inflamed they may appear red or feel sore. Then, the tissue pulls away from the teeth and form pockets at the gum line. Once bacteria invade the pockets then the disease may begin.
Patients can then experience bleeding when brushing or flossing, gum recession, and in the late stages (periodontitis) loose or even missing teeth.
You can prevent gum disease with regular checkups and dentist appointments. Visiting the dentist more often and brushing and flossing teeth twice a day can combat gum disease and improve overall tooth and gum health. But if gingivitis or periodontitis gets worse, there are treatment options that can prevent further infection and help heal teeth and gums.
Gum Disease Treatment in Northeast Philadelphia, PA
Following a thorough exam, Dr. Shulman may use a combination of scaling and root planing (deep cleaning), antibacterial rinses, and restorative dentistry to treat gum disease. The type of treatment you need will depend on the stage and severity of existing disease.
Scaling and root planing is a process of removing plaque and tartar from the deep pockets of your gums. Normal gums do not have deep pockets, only detached and infected gums. After removing the infection, your gums will begin their natural healing process.
For patients who suffer from chronic gum disease or who have a medical condition such as diabetes, our team can offer personalized care for maintaining healthy and stable gums. Routine dental care plays a key role in keeping the gums healthy and allows for prompt diagnosis and treatment when symptoms arise.
To learn more about your gum disease treatment options, see Periodontal Therapy. If you think you are developing gum disease, schedule an appointment by calling Dr. Shulman’ dental office at (215) 372-1142.
Bleeding Gums FAQs
Bleeding gums are a common dental problem that we address in our dental office. We believe that the more knowledge you have about this condition, the easier it will be for you. Hopefully we can answer all of your questions about bleeding gums so that you can better understand your condition and take steps to improve your oral health.
Is poor or inconsistent oral health what causes gums to bleed?
Yes, not taking care of your mouth properly at home can cause bleeding and inflammation in your gums. Usually, the triage of excess plaque buildup, aggressive brushing, and gingivitis cause gums to bleed excessively. If you have bleeding and inflammation in your gums, it is important to see your dentist for treatment.
Can having low levels of vitamin C cause my gums to bleed?
Yes, having low levels of vitamin C may cause a patient’s gums to bleed. Having a deficiency in vitamin K can also contribute to gum bleeding. Taking supplements of vitamin C and K can help solve patients’ issue of red and bleeding gums before the issue turns into gum disease.
Why are my gums bleeding while flossing?
Your gums should not be bleeding while you are flossing. If this is a recurring result of flossing then you should talk to your dentist. Sensitive gums while flossing is most commonly due to poor overall oral health. Neglecting your teeth causes a buildup of plaque in and around the gums. This plaque and tartar eats away at your gums and causes gums to bleed every time you floss.
When should bleeding gums become a concern?
Bleeding gums are extremely common, but this does not mean that you should ignore the issue. If you are experiencing persistent bleeding gums, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss what could be causing this.