If your gums bleed easily when brushing, flossing or eating, do not ignore it. Bleeding gums are a warning that should be addressed with care. See your dentist, and find out if your inflamed gums are a sign of gingivitis.
The first stage of gum disease, gingivitis is the inflammation of gum tissue surrounding the roots of your teeth. Reddened, irritated and swollen gums bleed easily when you brush, floss or eat certain foods. Your Richardson dentist, Dr. Todd Anderson, can help you reverse gingivitis and keep your gums healthy.
Is Gingivitis Serious?
Gingivitis can be a serious concern, because it often leads to more advanced stages of gum disease, known as periodontitis. Periodontal disease is a gum infection that destroys the healthy tissue around teeth. Over time, the infection causes the gums to loosen and fall away from the teeth. Your dentist refers to this as periodontal “pockets”. In addition to the loss of healthy gum tissue, the bone surrounding the tooth roots begins to break down and “atrophy”. As the gum disease moves into the advanced stages, teeth become loose and can even fall out. Getting gingivitis under control and eliminating the bacteria that cause disease will prevent tooth loss from periodontal disease.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Gum Disease
Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings are an important part of maintaining healthy gums. Your dentist or dental hygienist is able to remove hardened plaque (tartar) that builds up at and below the gumline, where a toothbrush cannot reach. Removing tartar and bacteria beneath the gum line helps reduce destructive bacteria, making reversal of gingivitis and halting of gum disease possible. At your dental cleaning appointment, you will receive an exam to evaluate your gum health and check for periodontal pocketing. Pockets deeper than 3mm could indicate gingivitis or gum disease. If a problem with your gum health is found, your dentist will make recommendations for home care that will help reverse the disease process.
Treating Gingivitis and Periodontitis
The only reversible stage of gum disease is gingivitis. Stopping the destructive bacteria from damaging gum tissue and bone is the best way to prevent tooth loss from periodontal disease. Once bone and gum tissue is lost to periodontal disease, it cannot be replaced, but it can be treated and stopped before tooth loss occurs. Some of the treatment recommended for patients with early or moderate gum disease are:
- Effective home care, which may include an ultrasonic toothbrush, waterpik and more effective flossing
- Prescription strength antibacterial mouth rinse
- More frequent dental cleaning appointments
- Specialized ‘deep cleaning’ dental procedures
- Application of antibiotic agents to the infection source
Are Your Gums Bleeding? Schedule your dental cleaning and examination today at Fresh Dental.