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Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease

Most people are painfully aware of the damage and discomfort that cavities can cause, but they’re probably unaware of how much damage gum disease can cause. When cavities remain untreated, they can result in gingivitis and, ultimately, the loss of your teeth and your facial structure. Learning all about the problems that can arise from gingivitis can help you to recognize the symptoms and treat them before they gain a stronghold in your mouth.

What Is Gingivitis Gum Disease?

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Although it may present asymptomatically, it’s usually associated with sore or bleeding gums that may be accompanied by pain but not always. Statistically, of the more than 75 percent of American adults who have gingivitis, only about 15 percent of them are aware of the fact. More than 60 percent of teens who are 15 years or older have gingivitis. Of all those who have the disease, about one-third of them are genetically predisposed to the disease.

The remaining two-thirds usually develop gum disease due to insufficient or inadequate oral hygiene methods. Although you may brush and floss assiduously once daily and use mouthwash, that’s not enough. The American Dental Association suggests that you brush and floss at least twice each day, and once should be just before bedtime. They also recommend that you use an antibacterial mouthwash after brushing and flossing. So, even though you may have an excellent technique, if you’re not doing it often enough, it’s inadequate to maintain your oral health. Combining an excellent oral hygiene regimen with the suggested occurrences during the day will help eliminate the onset of bleeding gums, gingivitis, or periodontal disease.

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease, and it’s only at this stage that the disease can be cured and the damage reversed, so don’t ignore bleeding gums or pain when you brush and floss.

How Will Gum Disease Impact My Overall Health?

When gum disease is left untreated, it can progress to periodontal disease, which can permanently damage your gums and teeth. When periodontal disease isn’t treated, then it can progress to periodontitis and then advanced periodontitis. At this stage, you’ll have destroyed your jaw bone, your gums, and your teeth. Unfortunately, when you reach this stage, the only remedy is expensive and painful reconstructive dental work. Your facial features will have become distorted due to a lack of proper bone structure. You may have developed severe physical health issues such as pulmonary disease or a variety of cardiac diseases. Periodontal disease can have serious adverse effects on your entire physiology, so it shouldn’t be ignored.

What Causes of Gum Disease Should I Watch For?

Although the primary cause is inadequate oral hygiene, other factors can influence the likelihood of developing gum disease, such as:

  • Hormones: Female hormone fluctuations can result in the gums becoming more sensitive; this may encourage the tendency to develop gingivitis.
  • Lifestyle habits: Smoking or using tobacco products in any form can damage the gum’s ability to heal. It also increases the number of toxins in the mouth which may inflict further damage.
  • Medications: Some prescription medications cause dry mouth as a side effect, which can hasten the onset of gingivitis because there’s not enough saliva in the mouth to flush out bacteria.
  • Disease: Diseases such as cancer, HIV, diabetes, and others can reduce the body’s ability to fight infection, so gum disease may be more likely to occur.
  • Neglect: Inadequate or insufficient oral hygiene can allow bacteria to proliferate, which can result in infection or inflammation.

By maintaining good oral hygiene and awareness of issues as they occur, you can drastically reduce your likelihood of developing gum disease.

Which Signs and Symptoms Indicate That I Have Gum Disease?

Several symptoms can indicate the presence of gum disease, although it sometimes occurs without symptoms. That is why regular visits to the dentist are so important, they can stop problems you might not even know you have. Be aware of the following:

  • A persistent or severely bad taste in your mouth
  • Perpetual bad breath
  • Changes in your bite
  • Irregularly spaced teeth
  • Pockets between the gums and your teeth
  • Pus between your teeth
  • Inflamed, painful or swollen gums
  • Loosening teeth, seemingly without cause
  • Your dentures no longer fit snugly
  • Receding gums

Any of these signal that you need to schedule a trip to your dentist’s office as soon as possible. The symptoms won’t disappear on their own, you need professional treatment.

What Facts Should I Know About Periodontal Disease?

There are three types of periodontitis that you can develop if your periodontal disease isn’t addressed, so if you have any stage of periodontal disease, don’t delay in seeking treatment.

  • Aggressive periodontitis: This usually occurs in adults who are otherwise healthy, but it’s very aggressive and can cause significant damage in a short time. It quickly destroys the jawbone and the ligaments that secure your teeth.
  • Chronic periodontitis: This is the most common type of the disease in adults and is characterized by inflamed tissues and the gradual erosion of the ligaments that secure your teeth.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis: This most often occurs in those who have compromised immune systems and results in the death of the tissues in the jawbone and gums.

Are There Recommendations for Preventing Gum Disease?

You can prevent the onset of gum disease by adopting a program of good oral hygiene that includes regular dental checkups and cleanings. The American Dental Association recommends twice-yearly dental visits, but if that’s not feasible, then you should schedule annual visits at a minimum. Additional recommendations include:

  • Eat a healthy diet: Fruits and vegetables are better for you, and some fibrous vegetables may be better at removing the food particles that may be lodged between your teeth. Avoid a diet that’s high in processed sugars and carbohydrates.
  • Brush at least twice daily: Be sure to brush right before you go to bed and don’t eat or drink anything after that except plain water.
  • Quality: Be sure to use a toothbrush and toothpaste that carries the ADA seal of approval.
  • Floss daily: Be sure to floss at least once each day, preferably just before bedtime.
  • Mouthwash: Use an ADA-approved mouthwash after brushing and swish it in your mouth for at least one minute.

Although it may seem like just one more thing to do before you can finally collapse into bed after an exhausting day, maintaining proper hygiene will help keep your smile beautiful throughout your lifetime.

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