Bleeding Gums Could Be Worse Than You Thought
Is it normal to see some blood after you brush? If you’re brushing your teeth before bed one night and you notice some red after spitting out the toothpaste, should you be concerned? If you rarely see some blood, that can be okay – you may have flossed and/or brushed with just a little too much pressure. But the reality is: your gums should not regularly bleed. If you see this occurring more often, you might have gum disease and if you don’t address the problem, you might start to lose your teeth.
What Is Gum Disease (Periodontal 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 I 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.
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. Since gum disease is caused by bacteria, it makes sense this would help. 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 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 (610) 838-0131 for an appointment.