If you’re experiencing bleeding gums – don’t ignore it! It could be more dangerous than you think.
It’s important to know when you need to improve your oral health routine so that smaller problems do not turn into more serious issues. Your gums create the best protective barrier your teeth have against diseases, they hold your teeth into place and are known as the skin of the mouth. Your gums cover the jaw bone and support the tooth structure inside the alveolar bone. If your gums become inflamed and unhealthy, they can recede which can cause your teeth to become loose. A lot of the time, people lose teeth because of unhealthy gums – not unhealthy teeth!
Many of our patients become confused with the mention of gingivitis, periodontitis, and gum disease. A lot of the time, bleeding gums is the very first sign of the early stages of gum disease. Sometimes, this can be caused by excessive or aggressive brushing and flossing yet other times; it could be the beginning of gum disease.
How do you know if you have gingivitis or gum disease?
Many patients become concerned when they experience bleeding of their gums after brushing and flossing. How are you to know if you have gum disease?
There are different stages of gum disease, some mild and some more severe than others. Two of the most common are gingivitis and periodontitis. Most of you have probably already heard of one or the other, perhaps both. What you probably don’t know is that both gingivitis and periodontitis have been associated with an increased risk of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and lung disease. As with many other diseases, prevention is more effective so taking your oral health seriously is a must!
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
Gingivitis is a very common and can be an early stage of gum disease. It can begin when people lose track of their oral health routine and food particles get stuck between their teeth and gums. This causes a thin film of bacteria to form around your teeth; the infection begins when this bacteria affects your gum line. Eventually, this can actually cause your gums to pull away from your teeth.
If you are experiencing sudden sensitivity to your teeth or pain when you’re chewing, you could be suffering from gingivitis. The best thing to do is ensure you are sticking to your oral health routine every day and maintaining the habit of keeping to six-month check-ups with your dentist. Gingivitis is reversible, and treatment is much more successful when completed as early as possible. This will ensure your gingivitis does not escalate into gum disease.
Periodontitis is another common stage of gum disease. This stage is often underestimated and not taken as seriously as it should be. If gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis. The symptoms and treatments for gingivitis and periodontitis are very similar; this is why they are often confused. Periodontitis occurs after gingivitis. When you don’t take action against acute gum disease, the symptoms grow and the longer you leave them, the harder they become to treat.
Like gingivitis, symptoms of periodontitis include bleeding of the gums, sensitivity to your teeth and gums, and pain when chewing or clenching. Yet with periodontitis, symptoms worsen causing bad breath and sensitivity so bad that your gums can become sore and tender when simply touching them. Your gums become red and sometimes quite purple in colour; you may notice your gums receding from your teeth and this infection can create pus from your gums.
The best thing to do if you’re experiencing these symptoms is maintaining a serious oral health routine, brushing in the morning and evening, rinsing with anti-bacterial mouthwash and flossing once a day – preferably before bed. If this persists, your dentist will examine your condition during your check-up. If your oral health routine is not enough to keep these diseases at bay, you may need surgery.
If you are concerned with any of these symptoms, it’s important to bring them up with your dentist before they worsen. When was your last check-up?