Have you been experiencing red, irritated or swollen gums? Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth? Bleeding gums are a sign of inflammation or gingivitis. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that does not involve bone or tissue loss. If left untreated, however, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums and other structures around the teeth. Without treatment, the alveolar bone can deteriorate.
In the earliest stages of periodontal disease, only the gums are affected. As plaque spreads and grows, the body’s immune system will start to fight the bacteria and tartar. The body’s natural response to infection can break down the connective tissue that holds teeth in place. By contacting a dental professional for help and taking some small steps on your own, you can lessen symptoms of gum disease or even stop it in its tracks.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
In the first stages of gum disease, symptoms can be painless, causing them to remain unnoticed. However, the condition is not entirely without warning signs. Signs of the first stages of periodontal disease include receding gums, persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth or the formation of deep pockets between the teeth and gums. Shifting teeth can also be signs of gum disease.
Causes of Gum Disease
Bleeding gums are usually caused by a buildup of plaque at your gum line. Plaque is a sticky, colourless buildup of bacteria and other particles on your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing can help get rid of plaque and prevent the worsening of bleeding gums. However, plaque that is not removed can harden and form what’s known as tartar. Only a professional cleaning administered by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.
Excessive buildup of tartar on your teeth can cause inflamed gums or gingivitis. The longer tartar and plaque are on teeth, the more harmful they become. Common causes of bleeding gums include:
- Ill-fitting dentures or other dental appliances
- Hormonal changes in girls and women
- Genetic susceptibility
- improper flossing
- Infections in the teeth or gums
- Other illnesses and their treatments
- Aggressive brushing
- Vitamin K deficiency
- Use of blood thinners
Treatment Options for Periodontal Disease
Depending on the extent of the periodontal or gum disease, the number and types of treatments will vary.
In some cases, periodontal surgery may be necessary. Treatment options we provide for bleeding gums include:
- Scaling: Scaling removes plaque and calculus on the teeth before smoothing the exposed surfaces of the roots.
- Root planing: Root planing discourages the further buildup of tartar and bacteria, and smooths root surfaces.
- Medications: Medications, such as oral or topical antibiotics can help control bacterial infection.
- Flap surgery: Your periodontist can expose roots for more effective scaling and planing.
- Bone and tissue grafts: Bone grafts can serve as platforms for the regrowth of natural bone. Tissue grafts, on the other hand, can help reduce further gum recession and cover exposed roots.
How to Prevent Bleeding Gums
To prevent the first stages of gum disease, avoid smoking, brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, visit your dentist or dental hygienist for regular cleaning and check-ups and floss regularly. It’s essential to change your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles look worn out. Use small, circular motions when brushing and angle the brush toward your gum line. Further, it is crucial to keep blood glucose numbers as close to your target as possible.
Your doctor can help you set your target blood glucose numbers to an ideal level. If you have already noticed signs of periodontal disease or have bleeding gums, we suggest the following:
- Have a periodontal exam.
- Apply pressure directly on the gums with ice water soaked in a gauze pad.
- Take vitamin supplements if diagnosed with a vitamin deficiency.
- Avoid tobacco use.
- Avoid aspirin.
- Follow your dentist’s instructions on how to brush and floss teeth properly.
- If the side effects of a medicine are causing bleeding gums, ask your provider to prescribe a different drug. Always talk to your provider first before changing medications.
Even if you have dentures, gum disease can still occur. Schedule an appointment with your dentist if your dentures are causing sore spots on your gums.
Schedule an Appointment With Gateway Dentistry Group Today
Don’t wait to talk to us about bleeding gums or what could be the beginning stages of periodontal disease. We want you to benefit from optimal dental health, and that’s why we work to stop conditions like gum disease in their tracks. Our team of dentists and periodontists are available for emergency visits as well as appointments and offer dental sedation options for all ages.
If you would like to learn more about treatment options or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists in Grande Prairie, give us a call at 1-780-539-3555 or fill out our online contact form today!