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Advanced Dental Care of Sarasota East
8282 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, FL 34241

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Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease

Where Can I Learn About Gum Disease?

Known clinically as periodontal disease, gum disease is the term utilized to describe an array of conditions that negatively affect the health of your gums. If left untreated, you could lose your teeth or seriously harm the structures of your mouth. This condition can also lead to several serious health problems. The best way to prevent gum disease from taking hold or advancing is to learn about the symptoms of the disease. If you’d like to do everything you can to keep your teeth and gums happy and healthy for a lifetime, continue reading this helpful guide to periodontal disease.

The Impacts of Periodontal Disease on Your Health

Recent studies into periodontal disease have found that 30 percent of people are predisposed to developing the condition based on their genetic makeup alone. Other studies have estimated that 75 percent of adults in America and 60 percent of teenagers are afflicted with some type of gum disease. In addition to this, the great majority of people who have this dangerous condition aren’t even aware that they have it as it tends to present asymptomatically or with light symptoms. The good news is that it can be treated easily when it is caught in its earliest stages. It’s also fairly easy to prevent the disease from occurring at all. All it takes is following a basic dental care routine of regular brushing and flossing and trips to the dentist. Your dentist is your best ally in preventing and treating periodontal disease damage. In order to truly care for your gums, you need to understand the signs and symptoms of gum disease.

Periodontal disease starts off as gingivitis. This early stage of gum disease occurs when bacteria starts to accumulate in the gum tissues, causing them to become inflamed. You may have gingivitis if your gums are red, swollen or if they bleed during and after brushing. Ignoring gingivitis can cause it to progress into advanced gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

What Causes Periodontal Disease to Develop?

Plaque and bacteria are the main underlying causes of gum disease. However, did you know that there are certain age and lifestyle factors that can contribute to your risk of developing the disease?

  • Hormonal changes. Researchers have recently discovered that women are at a higher risk of developing gingivitis because the hormone fluctuations that they experience during pregnancy, menstruation, puberty and menopause can weaken the gums.
  • Illnesses. Patients who have diseases that put them at a greater risk of developing infections may also have issues with gum disease. Some common diseases that increase your risk are cancer, HIV and diabetes.
  • Medications. Prescription drugs such as anticonvulsants and anti-angina medications can lead to dry mouth. Dry mouth makes it more difficult for the mouth to produce saliva, leading to more bacteria inside of your mouth.
  • Poor lifestyle habits. If you smoke or chew tobacco, you may be at an increased risk of gum disease. This is because tobacco harms the gums and makes it more difficult for the tissue to repair itself.
  • Dental care neglect. Not brushing your teeth or flossing them on a regular basis can lead to the bacteria behind gum disease building up. The same thing happens when you skip visiting your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings.

Common Symptoms of Gum Disease

To avoid serious consequences to your oral and overall health caused by gum disease, it’s important that you recognize the symptoms. They include:

  • Gums that are tender, red or swollen
  • Gums that bleed when the teeth are being brushed
  • Persistent foul breath
  • Chronic bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gum line
  • Noticeable “pockets” between the gums and teeth
  • Teeth that are loose or shift around
  • Changes to the bite or the way that dentures fit

Things You Need to Know About Periodontal Disease

Once gingivitis has progressed into periodontal disease there are a number of consequences that can be potentially serious. These include the gums and bone beginning to tear away from the teeth, creating pockets that collect debris and are breeding grounds for infections. The gum line becomes worn down over time and the teeth suffer from instability and decay.

The toxins that are harbored within plaque will then work their way down underneath the gum line, causing inflammation that will lead the bones and tissues underneath to wear down and become severely damaged. Once this has happened, the gums and teeth begin separating further and the supporting tissue and bone underneath is destroyed. This leads to the teeth becoming loose. Unfortunately, if your gum disease has progressed this far, you may need to have your teeth taken out. Other conditions that can lead to periodontitis include diabetes, heart disease and respiratory disease.

There are a few different types of periodontitis that you need to know about. They include:

  • Chronic periodontitis. This is commonly found in adults and features symptoms like inflamed gums and slowly losing attachments between the teeth and the gums
  • Aggressive periodontitis. This is frequently found in healthy patients and has symptoms like the rapid loss of bone and attachment.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis. This is most often discovered in patients who have compromised immune systems and is characterized by the death of gum tissue, bone and periodontal ligaments.

What Can I Do to Help Prevent Gum Disease?

  • Be sure to eat a diet that is low in sugars and starches.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day. Use an ADA-approved toothpaste. If you can, brush after every meal. At the very least you should rinse your mouth out with water after eating.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Thoroughly rinse your mouth out with an ADA-approved mouthwash for a minimum of 60 seconds.

See Your Dentist to Protect Yourself From Periodontal Disease

Ignoring signs and symptoms of periodontal disease can lead to a host of health issues that can have serious consequences. The best way to ensure that the health of your gums remains intact is to see an experienced dentist in Sarasota.

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