Life is busy, so it can be easy to shrug off a seemingly small problem like bleeding gums. But this is a common sign of a potentially serious problem you shouldn’t ignore — gum disease.
Gum disease may not seem like a big deal. But this dental issue can compromise your oral and physical health, even putting you at risk of developing complications like tooth loss, heart disease, and stroke. Fortunately, it comes with warning signs that are hard to miss, including bleeding gums when you brush or floss.
Daniel Park, DDS, has years of experience treating periodontal issues like gum disease at Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental in Beaumont, California. In this blog, Dr. Park explains why bleeding gums are a cause for concern.
Your gums and your oral health
It’s easy to focus exclusively on your teeth when thinking about your oral health. However, the soft tissue in your mouth plays an essential role in holding your teeth in place and protecting them from bacteria.
When you notice bleeding in your gums, it’s a clear sign of inflammation. This occurs because a sticky film containing bacteria — called plaque — builds up on your teeth as well as under and along your gum line. Without treatment, plaque hardens into tartar, a tough substance you can only remove with a professional cleaning.
In the earliest stages of gum disease, it’s common to notice bleeding when brushing or flossing. Additional signs of a problem include:
As gum disease progresses, it can ruin your gums, teeth, and jawbone. These changes not only increase your chances of tooth loss, but they can also change your facial structure and appearance. But that’s not all.
High levels of bacteria in your mouth from plaque and tartar buildup increase your chances of developing other health problems, ranging from heart issues like endocarditis and cardiovascular disease to pneumonia and pregnancy or birth complications.
What to do if your gums bleed
Nearly half of Americans over age 30 have gum disease. So, if you see any blood when brushing or flossing, it’s time to schedule a dental appointment.
When you catch gum disease in the earliest stage — called gingivitis — Dr. Park can treat your condition in less invasive ways, such as through a thorough cleaning. However, if the gum disease progresses into periodontitis, which is a more severe form, it can require more extensive treatments, even surgery.
Common treatments for gum disease include:
- Antibacterial mouthwash
- Scaling and root planing to clean above and below the gum line
- Antiseptic chips that release disinfectants, typically used in association with root planing
- Bone and tissue grafts to repair and replace damage in the mouth
- Flap surgery to remove tartar and reattach the gums
The best way to avoid gum disease is by practicing good oral hygiene, limiting sugary foods and drinks, and scheduling regular dental exams. And, remember, don’t wait to contact your dentist if your gums start to bleed while brushing or flossing.
Do you have gum disease or think you might? Dr. Park can give you a thorough evaluation and discuss your next steps. To learn more, call 951-845-2661 to book an appointment with Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental today.