You’re brushing your teeth before bed. You spit out the toothpaste, and you see some red in there. That’s normal, isn’t it? Don’t we all see some blood after we brush? Not really. If you rarely see a little blood, that can be all right. You may have brushed and flossed a little too aggressively, for example. However, your gums should not normally bleed. If you’re seeing this problem more often than not, you might have gum disease. If you don’t take care of this problem, you might lose your teeth.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. Your mouth is home to harmful bacteria. They secrete an acid, so when they reside on your teeth, they create cavities. However, these same bacteria can live on your gums instead. They still secrete an acid, which damages your gums and creates gum disease.
Gum disease has two stages: early and advanced.
– The early stage is called gingivitis. Here, the harmful bacteria are irritating and damaging your gum tissues, but they have not gotten inside there yet. This damage is what can cause your gums to bleed, so it’s not hard for those bacteria to slip inside. With gingivitis, you can get treatments to help the symptoms and put a stop to the gum disease.
– The advanced stage is called periodontitis. The bacteria on the surface of your gums have gotten inside and have begun to infect your gum tissues. Sadly, there is no way to fully remove the infection at this point — your gum disease is permanent with periodontitis.
Do You Have Gum Disease?
The idea of permanent infections and losing teeth might have you worried. Do you have gum disease? Here are several signs you should be on the lookout for.
– Your gums bleed after brushing and flossing. This is one of the easiest signs to spot. Again, seeing a little bit of blood after brushing doesn’t automatically mean you have gum disease, especially if it rarely happens. But if you normally bleed like this, you could very well have gum disease.
– Your gums are swollen and tender. Sometimes, your gums won’t bleed. Instead, they will be swollen or hurt a little when pressed. That’s because the bacteria are irritating your gums.
– You have bad breath, and it seems impossible to get rid of it. All of the damage that comes with gingivitis can lead to chronic bad breath. That’s because the smell isn’t coming from what you ate — it’s coming from your gums.
– Your gums have pulled away from your teeth. This often happens in periodontitis but can happen in gingivitis as well. Your gums become so irritated that they begin to recede from your teeth. Receding gums is usually a clear sign of gum disease.
Gum Disease Treatments
At our Hellertown, PA dental office, you can get several treatments to help fight gum disease.
– Scaling and root planing: This is the most common method of gum disease treatment. It’s a deep cleaning treatment. Bacteria can create plaque and tartar on your teeth. When these exist at or even below the gumline, your gums will get irritated. Scaling and root planing get rid of plaque, tartar, and the bacteria living there. It can also smooth out rough spots on your tooth to make it harder for bacteria to return.
– Laser treatment: PerioLase is a high-tech system that uses a special dental laser. The laser is finely tuned to painlessly remove gum tissue infected by those harmful bacteria. However, the laser does nothing to healthy gum tissue. PerioLase is a fast and effective system for getting controlling gum disease.
– Medicated trays: Antibiotics have been used against bacteria for a long time. Since gum disease is caused by bacteria, it makes sense to use this medicine. With Perio Protect, the medicine is in gel form, and it’s placed in a tray that fits over your teeth and gums. This way, the medicine is directly targeted to where the bacteria are causing problems. You can even use Perio Protect at home.
Of course, there are things you can do at home that will help. Bacteria survive by eating tiny particles of food and drink stuck in your mouth. By brushing and flossing regularly, you can get rid of those particles and help keep bacteria under control. Anticavity rinses can also help with this. You should also come into our Hellertown, PA dental office every six months for professional dental cleanings and dental exams. Only a trained dentist like Dr.Hunsicker-Morrissey or Dr. Garubba can spot signs of gum disease early. Plus, our hygienists can help get your teeth cleaner than you can at home.
If you notice that your gums can bleed, don’t wait. Call us at 484-858-0949 for an appointment.