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Rockledge Dental
1950 Rockledge Boulevard, Suite 207, Rockledge, FL 32955

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Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease

Understanding the Basics of Gum Disease

Gum disease is known clinically as periodontal disease. It’s an inflammatory condition which affects the gums first and can spread underneath the gums as the disease progresses, attacking the ligaments holding the teeth in place. In severe cases, it can reach the bone holding teeth in place, causing tooth loss. Dentists can cure gum disease in its earliest stage, called gingivitis, but otherwise, the disease needs lifelong monitoring. Gum disease can affect one or more teeth in your mouth. Learning the symptoms of periodontal disease can help you catch the disease early and seek a cure, before any permanent damage occurs.

Why Are Healthy Guns Essential for a Healthy Mouth?

Healthy gums fit tightly around teeth, while individuals with gum disease will witness pockets forming between the teeth and gums. Gums are soft tissue that frame the teeth and cover the alveolar bone which holds the tooth sockets. They protect the tooth sockets from food particles and plaque in your mouth. Without gums, the bad bacteria in plaque will damage the bone and surrounding ligaments, and cause teeth to become loose and eventually fall out.

Did you know that over 75 percent of adults and over 60 percent of teenagers will experience some form of gum disease? Those uncomfortable statistics make this one of the most common dental problems facing adults today. One of the best ways to arm yourself against gum disease is to learn as much as you can about what causes it, the symptoms and signs it presents and what you can do to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Unfortunately, many people also suffer from periodontitis, the more advanced form of gum disease. Periodontal disease is is more prevalent in men than women and more common in smokers than non-smokers. With periodontitis, it’s very important to keep a close eye on you gums and maintain a strong relationship with your dentist. You’ll need all the help you can get if you have periodontitis.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Gum disease starts when the bacteria found in plaque irritates the gums surrounding your teeth. If you don’t brush and floss diligently, the plaque accumulates and causes gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease. If you don’t get treatment to reverse gingivitis, it can turn into periodontitis.

Gum disease is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene, but several factors increase a person’s chance of developing gum disease, including:

  • Tobacco use. You’ve heard tobacco is bad for you, but it can also cause a lot of damage to the tissues in your mouth through the toxins it introduces.
  • Poor brushing and flossing habits. One of the main causes of gingivitis, poor dental hygiene is very detrimental to your overall oral health.
  • Keep your brushing routine regular and make sure to visit with your dentist at least twice a year.
  • Having crooked teeth. Unfortunately, crooked teeth make it more difficult to keep the teeth and gums clean, increasing the incidence of gum disease.
  • A family history of gum disease. Over 30 percent of people that get gum disease have a genetic predisposition to getting it. If this is you, you’ll need to maintain a good relationship ith your dentist and practice the best oral care.
  • Taking certain medications. The side effects of certain medications include dry mouth and dry mouth means less saliva to wash away the bacteria.
  • Certain systemic diseases. Illnesses like cancer, HIV and diabetes make it easier for someone to develop gum disease because of a suppressed immune system.
  • Poor nutrition. Eating lots of sugary and starchy food means a mouth full of gum disease-causing bacteria.
    Hormone fluctuations. Women experience fluctuations in hormones that make the gums more sensitive.

Signs of Periodontal Disease

Most of the time, gingivitis may be symptom-less or present very simply, making it hard to know if you have it or not. However, there are some common symptoms of periodontal disease that you might notice, which include:

  • Gums that turn red or purple, not a healthy pink
  • Puffy gums that look shiny
  • Tender gums that hurt when you touch them
  • Gums which bleed when you brush or eat hard food
  • Foul taste in your mouth or chronic bad breath
  • Gaps forming between teeth as they migrate
  • A change in your bite
  • Loose teeth

What Forms Does Periodontal Disease Take?

  • Gingivitis – Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It’s caused by poor oral hygiene. Individuals who recognize the signs can seek treatment from a dentist and reverse the disease. It’s important to visually inspect your gums frequently as there is no pain associated with gingivitis. Treatment prevents the disease from progressing to periodontitis and usually involves a professional teeth cleaning and improved at-home dental care.
  • Chronic Periodontitis – This is the most common form of periodontitis. The disease develops slowly, with pockets forming between the teeth and gums. The depth of the pockets will determine the severity of the disease. Dentists perform scaling and root planing procedures to clean out the pockets and smooth out the tooth roots so the gums can reattach easily. Treatment also typically includes antibiotics and improved oral hygiene on the patient’s part. Smokers who quit will make treatment more effective.
  • Aggressive Periodontitis – Aggressive periodontitis is less common than the chronic form of periodontitis. It’s characterized by its rapid progression and is classified as localized or generalized. Aggressive periodontitis used to be called early-onset periodontitis, as it usually occurs before a person turns 30, but now it has a separate classification. There is rapid periodontal tissue and bone destruction, although early treatment can arrest the damage. Aggressive periodontitis is hereditary, so anyone who has a family history of the disease should schedule regular dental exams after discussing the situation with their dentist.
  • Necrotizing Periodontitis – Necrotizing periodontitis, also known as necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis, is a destructive form of gum disease usually seen in people before they turn 30. It’s usually seen in people with HIV, smokers and people under extreme stress. It causes rapid death of periodontal ligaments, gums and bone. There can be severe pain associated with the disease.

How Do I Keep My Gums Healthy?

Practicing good oral hygiene is the most important thing you can do to keep your gums healthy. Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes at a time. Make sure you use a soft bristle brush that can get in tight spaces. Floss every day, too, making certain you reach between all your teeth. Swish an anti-plaque mouthwash around in your mouth for at least 60 seconds daily.

Schedule a routine examination and professional teeth cleaning twice a year with an affordable dentist in Rockledge. He or she can ensure you are avoiding plaque buildup and keeping your gums healthy.

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