For some people, bleeding gums are a sign of a simple problem, such as brushing their teeth too hard or being careless when flossing. For others, however, bleeding gums are a symptom of a more dangerous problem: periodontal disease. The dentists at Northfield Dental Group explain what periodontal disease is, what the risk factors for the condition are and what to do if you experience bleeding gums.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Simply put, periodontal, or gum, disease is a bacterial infection impacting the gums and eventually the jawbone. Periodontal disease develops when too much tartar accumulates around the teeth and on the gums. In turn, tartar develops when too much plaque builds up around the teeth and on the gums.
If left untreated, gum disease can cause the jawbone and surrounding tissues, which support the teeth, to decay. In its advanced stages, gum disease can ultimately cause the teeth to loosen and fall out. Aside from tooth decay, gum disease is the main threat to maintaining sound oral health.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Unfortunately, in its early stages, gum disease can be difficult to detect, because there are no symptoms or extremely mild symptoms. Early-stage gum disease is called “gingivitis.” Patients with gingivitis may have tender, red, swollen or bleeding gums. Other symptoms of gingivitis include: loose or sensitive teeth; widening spaces in between teeth; pain or discomfort while chewing; a persisting bad taste in the mouth; halitosis (chronic bad breath); a receding gum line; noticeable changes in bite alignment; and /or changes in the way partial dentures fit.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
The following are risk factors for gum disease:
- Bad oral hygiene habits
- Misaligned teeth
- Damaged fillings
- Improperly fitting dental bridges
- Certain hereditary traits
- Chronic stress
- An immunodeficiency disorder (e.g., AIDS)
- Fluctuations in female hormones, such as the ones that occur with pregnancy
What to Do If You Have Bleeding Gums
To help prevent gum disease, it is crucial for individuals to practice good oral hygiene habits: Brush the teeth twice a day, floss once a day, rinse the mouth with an antiseptic fluoride mouthwash, follow a healthy diet and visit the dentist for routine exams and cleanings.
If you are experiencing bleeding gums, contact Northfield Dental Group immediately to schedule an appointment. A Northfield dentist can evaluate the health of your teeth and gums and provide treatment as needed to help stop gum disease from advancing. Remember: Early-stage gum disease can usually be treated easily, but advanced-stage gum disease often requires costly treatments and can affect your overall oral and general health.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Stein, Dr. Widmayer or Dr. Shapiro to check the health of your teeth and gums, contact Northfield Dental Group by calling(973) 736-0111.