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Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious condition that impacts the health of your mouth and can sometimes result in the loss of teeth and other dental and health problems. Gum disease has different stages and sometimes symptoms don’t present as you would expect. That alone makes it vital to understand as much as you can about how this disease works in order to prevent it from developing. Clinically, gum disease is known as periodontal disease because it impacts the gums. What follows is a comprehensive article about gum disease to help you recognize the signs and prevent damage to your gums.

What Is Gum Disease and How Does It Impact Your Health?

Also referred to as gingivitis or periodontal disease, gum disease is a condition that affects as many as three out of four adults in the United States. Early treatment for this dental condition is essential to protect your teeth and to provide you with the best chance of resolving this issue.

Gum disease usually begins with gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums that can cause bleeding and redness. Your dentist may spot this problem during a routine visit and may recommend treatment options to stop gingivitis from developing into a more serious form of gum disease known as periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease can cause severe issues that include the breakdown of the structures inside your jaw, the loosening or loss of teeth and other issues that can affect your dental and physical health. Taking action to address gum disease before it reaches this stage can prevent some of the most serious side effects of gum disease from impacting your dental health.

It’s important to note that this is a very common problem in the U.S. Approximately, 75 percent of adults have some form of gum disease, but only 15 percent of those are aware that they have the problem in the first place! Unfortunately, this makes it very likely that the disease will develop into a more advanced stage and cause irreversible damage to the teeth and gums. This isn’t just a problem experienced by adults either, over 60 percent of teenagers older than 15 have some form of gum disease.

The good news is that most cases can be managed with the use of a robust and comprehensive dental care routine and regular trips to the dentist. For the cases that can’t be prevented with a regular dental care routine, those individuals may be one of 30 percent of people that are genetically predisposed to get gum disease. However, regular trips to the dentist can help to keep it under control. Gum disease can also cause inflammation in other parts of the body, so you want to take this disease seriously.

What Causes Gum Disease to Develop?

Bacterial growth associated with plaque is the primary contributing factor in the development of gingivitis and gum disease. There are several other contributing factors that are thought to play a role in the increased risk of developing gingivitis and periodontal disease:

  • Dental care Neglect: Failing to brush and floss properly and regularly can have a huge impact on your teeth and gums. Robust and frequent brushing and flossing helps to get rid of the majority of bacteria that causes inflammation.
  • Bad lifestyle choices: Smoking or chewing tobacco products can be harmful on your overall health and your dental health. The toxins from tobacco products introduce more toxins and decrease your body’s ability to fight off infections and inflammation.
  • Diseases and medical conditions: Having a compromised immune system can reduce the ability of the body to fight off infections, leaving you more susceptible to infection.
  • Hormonal changes: For women, changes in the hormones associated with pregnancy, menstruation and menopause can leave the gums more vulnerable to gum disease.

Spotting the Symptoms of Gum Disease

For most people experiencing gum disease, a few key symptoms are the first signs that gingivitis or gum disease may have taken hold in the mouth.

  • Bleeding gums, especially after brushing or flossing
  • Redness or swelling of the gums
  • Persistent bad breath that returns shortly after brushing
  • A bad taste in the mouth intermittently or continuously
  • Receding gums
  • Pockets of pus or inflammation between teeth and gums
  • Loosening of the teeth
  • Changes in the look or feel of your teeth

Prompt attention to gum disease is essential to stop the progress of this condition and its negative effects on your teeth and your health.

The Facts About Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease occurs when gingivitis is not diagnosed early enough to arrest its progress. Untreated inflammation of the gums can develop into chronic infections and pockets of pus that can reduce the strength and structural integrity of the tissues and bones that support teeth. This can lead to the permanent loss of teeth and bone in the jaw. If you loose both your teeth and the integrity of your jawbone, this can make it difficult to get implants that could replace these teeth.

Gum disease is usually classified according to the stage of the disease present:

  • Gingivitis is the earliest stage and the least serious form of periodontal disease. If treated during this stage, the progress of periodontitis can often be reversed to create healthier gums and stronger teeth.
  • If not treated properly, gingivitis can often develop into periodontal disease. During this stage of the condition, inflammation increases and pockets of pus develop that attack the tissue and bone of the roots of teeth and the jaw.
  • Advanced periodontal disease is the final stage of periodontitis and usually results in painful swelling, redness, loss of teeth and the breakdown of bone in the jaw.

When you arrive at the periodontitis stage of gum disease, there are further types of classifications.

  • Chronic periodontitis is the most common form and it leads to the slow loss of attachment in the ligaments and gums.
  • Aggressive periodontitis is usually found in people who are otherwise healthy. This fast-moving form of gum disease can destroy bone and tissues very quickly.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis is most common in those with suppressed or damaged immune systems. It causes the death of bone, tissue and ligaments inside the gums and in the jaw.

Tips for Preventing Gum Disease

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of gum disease. Most dentists recommend the following techniques for preventing gum disease and slowing its progress once it begins:

  • Reduce your intake of sugar and starches.
  • Use a dentist-approved mouthwash to kill harmful bacteria inside your mouth.
  • Brush and floss twice daily.
  • Schedule appointments with your dentist at least twice a year for a teeth cleaning and a checkup on your teeth and gums.

If you are looking for professional dental care, give our dentists a call today. It’s far better to have a stunning smile and a good relationship with your dentist than a toothless grin and painful procedures awaiting you! Don’t let gum disease get the best of you.

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