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Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease

We know that brushing our teeth is necessary, but it’s not usually high on our list of priorities. However, it should be. If you notice minor bleeding when you brush or floss, then you may need to be more dedicated in your oral hygiene regimen. Otherwise, you may develop gum disease, called gingivitis in its initial stage, and periodontal disease in its more advanced stages. Please read on to learn more about the devastating effects untreated gum disease can have on your oral health as well as your physical health.

What Is Gingival Gum Disease?

Gingivitis begins as an infection and inflammation of the gum tissues surrounding your teeth. It can be present without symptoms, but most people notice minor bleeding when they brush or floss and they may have minor pain or discomfort, or they may not. More than 75 percent of adult Americans have gum disease although fewer than 20 percent are aware of the fact. Among teens who are 15 years or older, more than 60 percent are currently experiencing one stage of gum disease. This is a particularly sad statistic because the long-term ramifications of untreated gum disease are severe, unpleasant, and can ultimately lead to an untimely demise of the structures of your mouth. About 30 percent of those who have gingivitis or gum disease have a genetic predisposition to the disease, but this can only be diagnosed by a dentist.

When gingivitis is diagnosed and treated early, it can be stopped and the effects can be reversed. If it isn’t treated, it can develop into periodontal disease, which is the beginning of more severe gum disease, and at this stage, the negative effects of the disease cannot be reversed. A dentist can treat them and stop further progression of the disease, but the damage is permanent.

When periodontal disease remains untreated, it will develop into periodontitis, and then advanced periodontitis. By this time, the ligaments that secure the teeth in place have been destroyed, the gums and the jawbone have eroded, and there’s facial distortion. At this point, the only option is expensive and painful reconstructive dentistry. It’s much easier on the body and much less expensive to brush and floss regularly, but many people don’t.

Will Gingival Gum Disease Negatively Impact My Physical Health?

Statistically, those who have a history of gum disease and periodontal disease have higher incidences of:

  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Low birth weight in infants
  • Complications during pregnancy
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Osteoporosis

When you have an infection in your mouth, the bacteria easily penetrate the thin membranes inside your mouth and are absorbed into your bloodstream. They are then carried throughout your body to your major organs, which are adversely affected by them. Research indicates that those who have a history of periodontal disease may experience premature death. Adopting a regimen of good oral hygiene that includes regular dental checkups and cleanings can forestall the onset of these drastic consequences as well as provide a more pleasant lifestyle.

Are There Specific Causes of Gum Disease?

The primary cause of gingivitis gum disease is inadequate oral hygiene. This can be either substandard practices or an insufficient quantity of good practices. According to the American Dental Association, you should brush at least twice each day with an ADA-approved toothbrush and toothpaste, and rinse afterward with an ADA-approved mouthwash. Floss at least once daily, preferably just before bedtime so that bacteria doesn’t linger on the teeth and gums overnight. If brushing after each meal or snack isn’t feasible, then rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain water.

Several other factors can contribute to the onset of gum disease, such as:

  • Lack of adequate hydration
  • Tobacco use
  • Prescription medications that have dry mouth as a side effect
  • Illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, or HIV
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Poor dietary habits

Your mouth needs to be adequately hydrated so that bacteria can be removed throughout the day. You can do this by drinking ample amounts of clear water. Avoid sugary beverages or sodas since these are high in calories and only contribute to the problem. A diet that’s high in processed carbohydrates and sugars is a big contributor to gum disease as is tobacco use. Tobacco in any form damages the gums so they are unable to heal the way they should. It also contributes toxins to the mouth, placing an additional strain on the immune system. Severe illnesses can cause a compromised immune system, so the body is unable to ward off the disease-causing bacteria.

What Are the Most Common Signs of Gum Disease?

Although gum disease may be present for a long time without any symptoms, there are usually some signs that there’s a problem, such as:

  • A persistent bad taste in the mouth
  • Bite changes
  • Habitual bad breath regardless of hygiene
  • Receding gums
  • Bleeding during or after brushing or flossing
  • Inflamed, swollen, red, or painful gums

If you notice any or all of these symptoms, then you should make an appointment with your Atlanta dentist without delay. Although these symptoms may seem minor initially, they are the precursors to a more serious issue and shouldn’t be ignored.

Is Periodontal Disease the Same As Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also called gingivitis, is the first stage of gum disease, also called periodontal disease. When gum disease is diagnosed and treated in the early stage of gingivitis, it can be stopped and any damage can be reversed. Left untreated, however, periodontal disease will become periodontitis, and then advanced periodontitis, at which point your jawbone, your gums, and your teeth will have been destroyed. Since there are three types of advanced periodontitis, it’s important to see your dentist so the correct diagnosis can be made. Most people develop chronic periodontitis, but aggressive periodontitis can occur in otherwise healthy people, and it’s a very aggressive and destructive disease. Those who have compromised immune systems may develop necrotizing periodontitis, which will destroy all their tissues, so if you have gum disease, be sure to make an appointment with your Atlanta dentist without delay.

Are There Ways to Prevent Gum Disease?

Gum disease can be prevented through a program of good oral hygiene, regular dental checkups, and a healthy diet that minimizes processed sugars and carbohydrates. By maintaining your teeth and gums in a healthy manner, they’ll be more likely to last throughout your lifetime and you won’t need artificial replacements.

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